Fast Casting, number of spell per round and metamagic


I think rules related to fast casting a spell and use Mu Vi metamagic are quite unclear. Could you please enlight me about this ?

How to deal with fast cast spells? Can I cast one formulaic spell and "N" fast casting spells, N being function of the speed of fast casting? Is it possible to fast cast a spell for something else than a reaction to an event? Is it possible to fast cast spell offensively? For example: say a Magus is good in Creo Ignem, has mastery ability 3 for Pilum of Fire (Fast Casting, Multiple casting, Penetration) and good scores in quickness and finesse. Can he cast a multiple Pilum of Fire as a formulaic spell plus N fast cast pilum of fire to his enemies?

On the same way, I don’t understand very well how functions matamagic and Names of Power spells (both seems to have more or less the same mechanics that i don't understand clearly). Are metamagic spells cast on the same round as the spell they affect, or on separated round? If they have to be cast on the same round, do they have to be fast cast (thus requiring Mastery ability with Fast Casting), or the fast cast effect is somewhat already included in the spell? Does the process need any roll for concentration? Can a magus cast, in a single round: 1 formulaic spell + 1 metamagic Mu Vi spell (affecting the formulaic spell) + N fast cast spells?

Thanks for your answers


No, "a magus cannot cast ... a fast cast and a normal spell in a round" p.174


Muto vim spells can be designed to be cast in the same round as other spells with a sufficient concentration roll. (They're an exception to the general rule of one spell a round, per the muto vim guidelines on page 159) .

Once again a magus can not cast a formulaic and a fast cast spell in the same round

Or, as I rule in my saga, if he does cast a fast cast spell after a formulaic spell, it counts as being cast in the next round instead. That way you can have a caster who goes first get off a spell at the beginning of the round, and then let him be able to counter a spell later in the round as he should be able to do. He just doesn't get to cast another formulaic spell when his turn comes around again next round, but can fast cast other spells with the standard -6 penalty.

Can a mage fast cast two spells in a round

  1. Fast cast Wizard's leap (jumps him up to 50 paces)
  2. follow with a second fast cast of wound that weeps.

Both are formulaic spells mastered for fast casting

If the second is allowed, can that second fast cast be multicast (so fast casting 4 copies of the same spell)?

Yes, but there is a cumulative speed penalty for each fast-cast spell after the first. -6, I believe.

and can the fast casts be multi-casts?

The rules in the core book do not appear to oppose it, so I'd say yes. The storyguide might decide that the extra botch dice apply cumulatively to each and every spell in the multi-cast. I think I would...

That's 'cuz you are a killer DM :laughing:

It's a mastered spell. There are no botch dice. Even if cast under stressful conditions, the botch dice reduction would cancel out the arbitray penalty you just made up because you have a grudge against crafty players with clever character designs.

:smiley: It's all good bro. Just teasing. It was one of my characters that she is referring to :wink:

And i rolled no zeros :slight_smile:

Well, one of our maga should have been killed last session (when a wolf ten times your size (+2 to -1) starts growling as an answer to your pointed questions, it's not a good idea to keep digging in that direction), but I let her be saved with a fast-cast, so I'm just grumpy. :wink:

Fast-cast spells have two extra botch dice. And while I'm on the fence for Rituals (though strongly leaning on the 'stressful' side), I'm pretty convinced that a fast-cast should always be treated as a stressful situation.

Fear, for I am your Nemesis! :wink:

Gee, what were the odds of that happening??? I don't believe you! :wink:

And I was in a Divine Aura of 1! Still, Mastery 4 equals - 4 to the potential botch dice :slight_smile:

If I could get you to come out to Chicago, i think it would be a most entertaining rivalry :wink:

I invite you to join my Light of Andorra PbP game once we have our current threads resolved and we reach a resting point.

:laughing: ROTFL!!!!

I think the same about fast casting. About Mu Vi, you got a good answer up there.
One would be expected to see the use of magic in combat to be a somewhat important part of the rules about combat, in a game like Ars Magica.
But those rules are written as if magic use in combat came as an afterthought, or so it seems to me. (and all the people I came to explain those rules to them.)

Erik got it right, with is interpretation of p.174 "Thus, a magus cannot cast more than one normal spell, or a fast-cast and a normal spell, in the same round."

Erik Dahl's house rule come as a necessity, otherwise you are somewhat at a disadvantage as a magus if you have high initiative.

Another problem:

Hum, it's difficult to see to what question Erik was answering. This one is the most interesting: "Is it possible to fast cast a spell for something else than a reaction to an event?"
It is correct to answer no if you look only at the rules. But it's difficult to respect it in situ (when you are actually in the process of playing).

The problem is with the expression "reaction to an event".
It is very difficult to actually play a mage that need to rationalize that he can't fast-cast to teleport away while he is protected by his grog, but can do it at the moment the grog is killed. When in an action scene, if you try to imagine all that is going around, it's difficult to not see events to react to at any moment.

But Erik's interpretation of the rules is right: the intent of the fast-cast defence's rules is to permit a mage to fast-cast a spell "as a response to an attack or other surprising event." (p.83) The problem is that it's a rule difficult to enforce in situ. I would prefer to let the players fast-cast in this way anytime they choose, but the problem is what is the target number to succeed at the fast-cast? (normally it's the opponent's Initiative)

About defense and offense: Yes, you can react in any way you choose: there is nothing against it in the rules. About the be dealt the killing blow, a mage could send a warning to his peers as a fast-cast spell made in this way.
If a knight is charging with you with his lance, killing the horse is a good defence. As is killing the knight.

Also, you can cast a spontaneous "fast-cast defense" against magic being cast using opposite Form and Techinique.

What confuses me is WHY fast-casting needs to be a reaction to something.

What is so different about fast-casting? It seems to be cinematic more than anything.
Why can't a mage pack in as many spells into a round as he can?

Just read this sentence, and it seems really unclear to me. Looks like it can be read in two different ways:

  1. A magus cannot cast more than one normal spell, or a fast cast and a normal spell, in the same round.

a magus cannot cast:

  • more than one normal spell
  • a fast cast and a normal spell
  1. A magus cannot cast more than one normal spell, or a fast cast and a normal spell, in the same round.

A magus cannot cast more than:

  • one normal spell (means: cannot cast 2 normal spells)
  • a fast cast and a normal spell (with hint saying exceptionnal magus could cast 2 or 3 fast cast, but it's very rare)

But since all of you agree that you cannot cast fast cast spell in a same round as formulaic spell (save for house rule), could you please explain me what made you reach this conclusion? Cause so far, among both possibilities listed above, i don't know which one is the correct one. :open_mouth:

To me, it seems much more exciting that, during a wizard war, both could cast formulaic spell for attack, and try desperately to fast cast a defense each round. Sure, i can do whatever i want in my game, but i'd like to know how the thing is really supposed to work :slight_smile:

Let's make a few scenarios, and see how the rules apply.

  1. An archer has initiative on a wizard. Can the wizard Spontaneously cast a Repel the Wooden Shafts (ReHe 10) in time (or Formulaically if he has the spell with the right Mastery)? If he succesfully rolls it, yes. This is the most basic application of Fast Casting, and it gives the wizard a chance to prevent his possible death even though he lost initiative. But it will cost him most likely, he will spend a fatigue spontaneously, and probably will formulaically as well.

  2. A wizard has initiative on an archer. The wizard casts his spell based on his initiative and can easily cast Repel the Wooden Shaft either Spontaneously or Formulaicly before the archer can get off an arrow. There is no Fast Casting here, just the regular speed that the wizard has. Do these factors apply?

  • Fast Caster merit? Yes, it adds to your initiative in casting spells, per the rules. Note, I see nothing that indicates that this merit adds to your actual fast casting total if you take that casting option.
  • Quick Casting Mastery (From Societates pg 34) each time this is taken it adds +1 to your Inititiative for a mastered spell. It also states that if you have Fast Casting for that spell, it adds +1 to that total. The problem is (for the poor DM) is that you'd have to announce your intent to cast this spell before you roll initiative (I assume).
  • Using a Magic Item. Magic Items can't be fast cast, they go off on initiative, like a regular spell, but you can add a special effect to make it faster (Societates pg 33). +3 Initiative for +5 levels.

So whether the wizard wins or loses initiative he can get the spell off, it's just that if he loses initiative he has to work a bit harder. Some more examples.

  1. Archer has the drop on the wizard, can the wizard cast Pillum of Fire either Spontaneously or Formulaically with the Mastery ability, and torch the archer before he gets a shot off? Per a strict interpretation, no he can't. This is an example that I can fathom, but is an obvious forcing of a rule. What is the reason behind the wizard above casting a defensive spell in time, but using the same rules a wizard can't fire off an example of the classic 'best defense' spell?

It seems that Fast Casting allows for wizards to get a second chance to defend themselves even if they lose initiative. What is apparently not wanted though is the true 'fast draw' option that allows them to kill an opponent effectively before the other can respond. Bottom line, initiative still is the main determiner in who will kill who, but wizards get an extra chance to pull off the 'Oh crap!' response, and defend themselves even if they lose initiative. It does seem forced, the action of fast casting a Pillum of Fire or a Repel the Wooden Shafts is the same, but one applies and the other does not. To make this more palatable (if you really want to be the Fastest Spellcaster in Europe), you can take the Fast Caster merit (which does not seem to help fast casting spells!) and also take Quick Casting Mastery abilties (multiple times even) and it adds to both Initiative and Fast Casting. I agree with this, otherwise it comes down to fast casting wars and negates the virtue Fast Caster. Leaving fast cast spells as a defense option gives the wizard options, it doesn't make them into a quick draw expert.

  1. The wizard has the drop on the archer. The wizard can easily cast Pillum of Fire spontaneously, formulaically, or with an item and torch the archer before he fires the arrow.

This is how I see it at any rate.

And regarding multiple castings, the way it looks like, the cost for a speedy defense is not having an offense. It looks like if you fast cast a spell (spont or formulaic) it effectively means that you drop everything and duck. All you can do is cast the fast cast spell, or additional fast casted spells, but no other spells.

But what about fast casting and doing any other action? What about fast casting and then using a magic item?

What concerns me is the following:

Mastered spells fast cast for all spells (esp flawless magic maga). THey get good init so they do the following

  1. Fast Cast Wizard's leap to get to 30' distance from someone with bow
  2. Fast cast Wound that weeps mastered for fast cast and multi cast for 4 light wounds
  3. Repeat the casting of the wound that weeps.

Make wound that weeps stalwart mastery and +20 casting total (perdo specialist with +27 casting total) and the -10 doesn't to casting total might as well not even be there (it would take -18 and 0 on the roll to fail).

All this before the the spearman has even rolled initiative to start the fight. THe mage just wants to get off three or four spells to end the battle before the other person can react.

This almost totally defeats the rule of "you can't cast normal spell and fast cast in a round."

In this example it looks like the only one of those spells that could actually be Fast Cast though would be the Leap, and some might debate that (I wouldn't, it seems like a perfectly valid defense to me). The rules basically don't allow you to fast cast an offensive spell like the Wound that Weeps. If instead you took Quick Casting a few times as well as Multi-casting, you could do that without fast casting, you'd just need to beat the initiative of the spearman, which might not be too hard. But you wouldn't be any further away from him.

That is wrong, and nowhere does it say that or imply that at all. You can Fast Cast any spell, even if it is the wrong spell for the situation. If I want to Fast Cast a Pilium of Fire to cut down my opponent before he manages to squeeze of off his spell, that is perfectly legitimate. Or, let us say Magus A & C are attacking poor innocent magus B. Say magus A is casting an Attack, magus B fast casts a Defense. Maguc C can Fast Cast his own attack spell to try and beat B's defense.

I believe I read too much into this line:

A maga may choose to cast a Spontaneous spell extremely quickly as a response an attack or other surprising event. (ArM 83)

My interpretation is that it is a response to an event, so the logical response is the 'oh crap' reaction and casting a defensive spell. While the rule states you can't just 'Fast Cast' a spell for no reason, it has to be in response to something, it doesn't say that it has to be a defensive spell.

My mistake.

The earlier post I made doesn't quite apply any more then.

I think I'd prefer my earlier interpretation and leave fast casting as a defensive reaction, but doing so places it firmly into the House rule category.

That keeps fast casting as the defense for the cagey wizard with a decent quickness and a high Finesse and/or Fast Cast Mastery for some Formulaic spells (possibly with the ability of Quick Casting a few times), and still allows for the quick draw offensive wizard by taking such combinations as: Fast Caster merit and then Mastery of a spell a few times with the Quick Casting Ability from Societates.