First Spell Designed... Ever

Barrier of Ranged Superiority
ReHe 40
Base: 15 Ward vs plant products
Range: Voice +2
Duration: Diameter +1
Target: Group +2

With a word and a gesture, the magus can create an invisible barrier 30 paces long and ten feet tall within voice range. Arrows, spears, ballista bolts, etc can only pass through the barrier from the magus's side.

Does that look about right?

Edit: I guess it would also keep people from carrying clubs, staves, wooden hafted melee weapons, or even people wearing clothing made from plant products from walking through? They could always go around of course.


Also, wards are either circular or personal, AFAIK (I may be wrong there)

I was using group (10 people) assuming each person takes up about 3 paces of personal space. Was the best I could come up with for making a ward a wall instead of a ring around people. This idea of this spell is to have something the magus can throw up in a hurry without having to draw a line in the dirt around people. It was also an exercise in interpreting range, target, etc. Are walls of 'force' just something Ars doesn't do?

Is this better?
Barrier of Ranged Superiority A.K.A. The One-Way Wall of Wooden Wonder
ReHe 45
Base: 15 Ward vs plant products
Range: Voice +2
Duration: Diameter +1
Target: Group +2
Complexity: +1 for making a wall instead of a ring
With a word and a gesture, the magus can create an invisible barrier 30 paces long and ten feet tall within voice range. Arrows, spears, ballista bolts, etc can only pass through the barrier from the magus's side.

Hermetic Magic is not really oriented towards creating a linear "invisible barrier" like the one you describe. Wards, as described on p.114, are usually of one of two types. The first is a personal ward, which you cast on the target to protect it from the thing warded against. The second type is a circular ward, which creates a dome-like barrier.

Your spell, as you constructed it, tries to do a mix of the two types. That's a bit problematic, as Hermetic Magic doesn't usually allows that.

On top of that, you give your "wall" the ability to block Herbam targets only one way. Circular wards don't work like that, as they block both ways (again from p.114).

A personal ward would probably interfere with the targets' ability to manipulate Herbam products (like bows and arrows). A circular ward will block Herbam products from crossing the ward from either side, making it impossible for your men to shoot out of it.

EDIT: In short, as you say, Ars doesn't do "walls of force".

Indeed. Rings of warding, or wards on stuff (from cats to people to castles) are generally the closest thing you'll see. However, it's perfectly legitimate to say that, in the case of a formulaic spell, your magus has created something like a wall instead of a circle. One thing you probably would not be allowed to do is skip the "tracing" part.

However, before doing that, ask yourself what's your goal. To quickly set up a brief protection for the magus and possibly a handful of grogs/companions? Then you can cast the spell at Range:Touch (+1), Duration:Diam(+1) and Target:Group(+2), for a final level of 35, and the spell will protect the magus and any small group he's part of (up to a total of 10 people) from arrows, bolts, clubs, and similar implements of woodly destruction.

You'll find that Ars Magica has its own peculiar way of allowing you to choose what you can affect, that gives its magic system a strange but flavourful taste.

Another way to approach the problem is to create a strong wind that would divert any missile. Check out Charge of the Angry Wind (CrAu 15) on p.125 -- its description says that "Missile fire into or out of the gale is futile".

It won't allow your party to shoot out, but it will protect it. A variant with Diameter duration would allow you to cast it and then do something else.

I would say than this is one kind of un-natural control because you aren't warding, you stop them on paces off you. The final level shoudn't be pretty diferent, but again the basic is not one ward, that is one strange invisible force against Herbam.

Barrier of Ranged Superiority A.K.A. The One-Way Wall of Wooden Wonder
ReHe 55
Base: 15 Ward vs plant products
Range: Voice +2
Duration: Diameter +1
Target: Group +2
Complexity: +3 Making a wall instead of a ring, make it 1 way barrier, plus the 3rd just for making it something funky

As seasoned Ars players, would this be allowed in your campaign?

Now there's a separate argument for "Is it worth making a level 55 spells for this effect?". I'm not worried about that side of it. I'm more curious about using the spell creation guidelines to achieve the desired effect. Not if that effect is efficient... yet.

It's even less efficient than you think :frowning:
Because it's level 55, it has to be a ritual, meaning it'll take almost 3 hours to cast and cost 11 pawns of Vis. :frowning:

I did miss that. The premise of my question stays the same though. Is this the correct way to money around with spell design?

EDIT: The post below assumes the Target is a "modified" Circle, rather than a Group (I had missed that). With T:Group I would not allow it. One of the big things about Hermetic Magic is that you must somehow perceive (or have an Arcane Connection to) your target. In the case of wards, the target can be whoever is being protected rather than the stuff that gets stopped, and in the case of Circle wards the target can be the circular "barrier" you create (and if you target a Room or Structure or Boundary, you can affect its contents without perceiving them). There are Mysteries that get around this, and other magical traditions can also get around this, but vanilla Hermetic magic cannot.

So, stipulating the "barrier" is essentially a non-standard, "straight" Circle and subject to the same restrictions (manual tracing, breaking the "trace" breaks the spell etc.) I would sigh, shake my head, wrinkle my nose ... and allow it. It's ugly but relatively sound. It's definitely more sound than a lot of stuff one finds in Magi of Hermes!

In fact, I'd allow it with only +2 magnitudes (1 for the ring modification, 1 for the 1-way thing). This would make it a Level 40 (Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Diameter, +2 "linear Circle", +1 one-way) formulaic spell. I would not allow it as a spontaneous effect because of its non-standard Target. But let me stress again that any seasoned Ars Magica player would tell you that this is very unorthodox spell design: it lacks "mythic aesthetics" :slight_smile:

It'd still only stop the first 10 individual arrows or crossbow bolts in a round of combat, which means it's not effective if going against a mass of people with ranged weapons.

I assume you mean: Pick a guideline, add modifiers for range, duration etc. If so, strictly speaking yes.
It's just that you've managed to make something that makes almost everyone here cringe :slight_smile:

Nope, up to the mass of 10 individuals worth of herbam, each of which is a cube 1 yard on each side. Approximately.

His idea is that it's a ward, so it protects a Group of people, rather than protecting from a Group of wooden implements.
So the "size" of the Target is the "size" of the group of people, not that of the group of arrows.

I agree :smiley:
Pavulon, don't take it badly! It's not meant to be insulting or patronizing.
It's just that the Ars Magica (5th edition!) approach to spell design is rather different from that of other mainstream rpgs.
Trying a "straight" translation of a spell from some other system is like trying to translate a sentence from a language to another word by word, without touching its structure. The result is ... discomfiting.

Note that you CAN make a formulaic Hermetic spell with a non-standard Range/Duration/Target, it will just be 'less efficient' (i.e. higher magnitude) than the nearest comparable parameter.

In this instance, making a 'screen' that wood cannot pass is probably closest to Room target, which would be +2M, so calling it a 'Curtain' Ward and making it +3M (instead of +2) and you're probably good to go.

While I don't think that linear barriers are out of paradigm for Ars Magica, probably some sort of concrete definition of the linear area being warded is in order. An individual (or group of warriors) is clearly defined, a ring, room and structure are also obviously defined. An unbounded (though dimensionally defined by the spell) wall is not well defined. If you had two upright objects (standing stones, trees) to stretch the magic between it would be far more appropriate to the flavor of Hermetic magic. Your wall needs supports, as it were.

A one-way ward is probably well out of paradigm, however. Stopping arrows is probably enough if you can fling spells through the barrier, or just equip your grogs with arrows made of bone, horn, metal or some other non-Herbam product.

I completely agree. In fact, this is really the "Doorway" or "Passageway" Target that's been discussed elsewhere - a ward that prevents whatever stuff is warded against from passing through a given opening. The same principle is behind the "Demarcation Line" Target I was suggesting - a modification of Circle, where you make you make the linear barrier concrete by physically tracing it. The idea is exactly the same: by Ars Magica aesthetics, you have to somehow "embody" the barrier, ideally in some way that has mythic resonance.

I disagree with this. Parma magica, and more in general Magic resistance, are one-way after all.

If it's a personal ward applied to 10 people that way, it's valid. It's not a ring ward then.

Well, if it's a ring ward, the target is Circle, and again there's no limit to how much stuff is kept out.

Note that pavulon proposed a T:Group ward, and I said I would not allow it, but I'd allow some variant of a T:Circle ward where instead of a Circle you have a linear barrier (that you still have to trace etc.). John Prins proposed an alternative "T:Doorway" that creates a barrier, without need of tracing, in some pre-existing "passageway" between two pre-existing "posts" such as pillars, trees, large boulders, buildings etc.