Formulaic army killer spells

I think it might be interesting to come up with non-ritual spells of level 45 or less that will comprehensively defeat or destroy an army of 10000 or so for all the forms.

I'll take the easy one to start - Auram

The Dolorous Cloud Pe(Re)Au 30
Range: sight, Target: individual, Duration: concentration
This spell completely destroys the capacity of one cloud in the sky of up to 10 times base size to support breathing life and brings it down to ground level where it moves according to the will of the caster at up to the speed of a running man. Any creatures within the cloud start to suffocate as per the deprivation rules (ArM5, p180) and are at -3 to all rolls involving physical exertion. In addition, for each round of exertion a character must make a simple stamina roll of 6+ or lose a fatigue level. This may cause panic. Visibility within the cloud is approximately 10 paces. As this is an ongoing perdo effect, any fresh air conjured within the cloud instantly goes stale too. When the spell ends the cloud will return to its natural height but it will remain deadly to birds until it dissipates.
Base 3, +1 intensity, +1 rego requisite, +3 sight range, +1 concentration duration, +1 size

And here's the best I can manage for Vim:

The Host Sinister CrVi 45
Target: group, Range: voice, Duration: sun
Afflicts a group of up to 10000 non-gifted individuals with a magical air equivalent to the blatant gift. All attempts at command, control or coordination are at -6 and the army may well break up acrimoniously as all but the best established bonds between individuals succumb to suspicion and hatred.
Base 3, +1 intensity, +2 sun, +2 voice, +2 group, +3 size

this spell is best followed up with a few nuisance sponts to get the fights going.

First, why 45 or less instead of 50 or less?

Mentem is too easy. These are two my past CrMe specialist worked on:

Panic of the Trembling Heart at R:Sight and T:Group (+3 additional magnitudes).
(You could replace the fear with a number of other things that could work.)

The Call to Slumber at R:Sight and T:Group (+3 additional magnitudes).


1000 x 1000 paces of liquid stone, just keep concentration long enough for them to sink in 1 pace deep. Then let them starve.
{Base3+1, Touch+1, Conc+1, Part+1, Size+6}

The OP spell wouldn't work, I don't think, because you missed magnitudes for removing the weather phenomenon from its natural context.

However, if you wanna kill an army, its time for the kiddie Houses to step aside. This is a job for a Verditius!

Verditius magi with the Elder Runes virtue can easily enchant Greater Enchanted Items in a couple of seasons with well over 120-140 levels of effect, and can ignore the restriction on greater-than 50 level formulaic effects.

This makes a Verditius Creo specialist a no-brainer crowd-control and mass carnage.

Some favourites:

Lance of Wind and Fury

Cr(Re)Au 70 + 5 concentrates for magus, +9 (for 18 penetration -- just in case some hedge wizards think that their natural resistence will save them or to deal with Dominion), + 1 for 2 casts/day.

Mimics effects of Wrath of Whirling Winds and Water (ArM5 126), but at concentration duration, and with a Rego requisite to keep effects away from magus. Can continue indefinately. Will catch entire army in a massive hurricane that never, ever stops and can tear up wooden structures, let alone tents and horses.

Magus has Cr 20, Au 20, Magic theory 6+2(Puissant)+1(specialised in items) + 9 shape/material/runes bonus + 6+2+1 Craft + 3 intelligence + 5 aura + 8 laboratory bonuses. With Elder Runes, and a Magical Focus, Lab Total = 141. Subtract 10 for runes, effective total of 131.

Effect level is 85. Enchant item in two seasons. Booha. 9 pawns vis to enchant, 1 pawn (9-8 for craft) to open. 10 pawn cost total. Never expires.

Temple of Flame

CrIg 75 + 10 unlimited uses + 10 (20 penetration)

Creates a massive structure of flame that does +25 damage to everyone caught in its reach. That's level 35 (sight range) +10 group+ + 30 for 6 magnitudes of size, big enough to reach several thousand people. This will burn an army alive.

Balento players, this one was for you. Variants can be made to set a large structure alight, great for clearing out enemy castles.

Flambeau, the lineup starts over there, ar the door.

Bane of Indiana Jones -- just kidding Storm of Creeping Death

Cr(Re)An (Base 10 + 2 voice + 1 concentration + 1 rego requisite + 2 group + 4 scale + 1 concentrates for caster) = 75

Creates a mass of 100 000 highly poisonous asps which follow the caster's mental commands. Yikes.

An experienced Verditius with Elder Runes is unmatched for large-scale crowd-control in combat.

Dead Drunk, MuAq 45
Change the water in every container in the army into distilled spirits. The spell can affect up to roughly 40,000,000 liters (the base side for a processed liquid is a pool a pace wide and half a pace deep)
MuAq Base 2 (change a natural liquid into another natural liquid), +3 Sight, +2 Sun, +2 Group, +4 Size.

There almost certainly won't be an army in the morning :wink:

The Rego requisite is for dragging it out of the sky, hence why it bobs up to its natural height at the end of the spell. The movement on the ground I stuck in there since there was a Rego requisite for movement anyway - we could drop that bit or add another magnitude to account for it.

Those are impressive effects, especially the fire the size of a million large houses, and they are as quick to deploy in the field as a formulaic spell but they do require slightly more investment than the level 45- spells specified in the OP.

Liquor isnt a natural liquid. Also if you do it like this, everyone will KNOW what they´re drinking which means very soon there will be some changes made, like getting new water from whatever nearby source that can be found.

How is it unnatural?

So how about this for Aquam:

Instant Squall or One of Our Navies is Missing (ReAq 40)
Range: Sight, Duration: momentary, Target: part
A continuous area of water of up to 20 square kilometers and up to 5 paces deep (finesse roll for complex shapes) flashes into steam. Anything floating on that water will be thrown about by the steam then fall to the bottom of the affected volume as the steam fails to support its weight. If that doesn't smash all the ships then the waters rushing in from the sides and the impossibly torrential rain from the cloud of condensing steam will finish the job.
Base 3, +3 sight, +1 part, +5 size

Muto Imaginem level 40 - Of Mice and Men
R: Sight D: Sun T: Group+3 (up to 10 000 men)
Changes the sound and appearance of an army up to 10000 men strong into that of an army of mice. Even if the victims realize it's just an illusion, it's essentially impossible for their leaders to coordinate them through sight and sound, completely destroying the command chain.
Base Level 2, +3 Sight, +2 Sun, +2 Group +3 size

Creo Auram Level 35 - Winterbreath
R: Sight D: Conc. T: Ind +4 size
A large bank of thick, impenetrable fog -- up to 10000 paces (about half a dozen miles) across -- raises from the ground. The mist blocks vision beyond a pace or so, and has a supernatural chill that saps strength from those within. Every round anyone in the cloud who fails a Stamina roll of 3+ loses a Fatigue Level (or takes a Light wound if already Unconscious).
Base 3, +3 Sight, +1 Conc, +4 size (Note: the "supernatural chill" is merely cosmetic, the effect -- and base level -- is identical to that of Wreaths of Foul Smoke).

Then just move to Base 3 (slightly unnatural) and chop off a size, there's room. And I don't think a bunch of medieval soldiers will drink water when they have just been provided with free liquor :slight_smile:

Creo(Rego) Animal level 35 -- Octavia's one thousand legions
R: Touch, D: Conc, T: Group +1 size
A vast army of wasps (5 million insects strong) erupts from the caster's mouth and flies to carry out a (potentially complex) task set by the caster - including destroying an opponent's army.
Base 5, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +2 Group, +1 size, +1 Rego requisite

Whilst I am not as familiar as many with all the rules about spell construction, I make it 3 magnitudes to achieve the 3 rego effects: one to bring a cloud down, one to move it around at will (possibly, you could combine these, but I'd still be inclined to keep 'moving clouds aorund' at 2 magnitudes), and one to make it move 'as fast as a running man'. It's still only L40, and I'd allow it.

I also see no reason for it to continue to affect birds after you've relinquished concentration - the whole spell should end at that point, why does the cloud stay toxic?

Several of the other suggested spells could fall under the guideline of 'that's a ritual because it's too powerful/out of paradigm'. I think anything that is actually described as 'mimicing the effect of a ritual' should also be a ritual - and all of these are not possible as an effect in an item. See p98 of the core rulebook, 3rd column, 3rd paragraph.

The problem isn't coming up with spells that slaughter thousands. No, the problem is rendering the existing ritual strike spells obsolete. Why would anyone ever learn/invent Neptune's Wrath (L40, ritual) with a size limit of 1 mile's width (which is stated as 'ritual for large effect') if you are allowed to make a spell like 'Instant Squall' with a size of 20 km? (square or linear, it isn't specified in the description.)

The more subtle effects using mentem and imaginem are fine, in my opinion, but most of these need SG approval to avoid being rituals.

(the party pooper - sorry)

This is an excellent point. Ultimately, it's up to the troupe to decide if a Formulaic spell should be a Ritual just because it is a sufficiently "imposing" effect, even if it meets all other requisites. Since this is not well defined, however, I think it's fair to provide the OP with the spells he's asked with the assumption that "imposing enough to wipe out an army" is not necessarily "imposing enough to warrant a Ritual".

Because it's a perdo effect - the cloud suffocates but is not toxic - once you've destroyed the vital spirit of a cloud it doesn't grow back.

Rendering the existing spells obsolete should be the goal of at least half of house Bonisagus and a good chunk of the rest of the order. In general you will get more bang for your buck if you destabilize a big chunk of nature and let the consequences flow than if you try to achieve your damage directly by magic. I predict that the Ignem spell is going to be one of the level 45 offerings for that very reason.
I wouldn't have a problem with a SG taking a look at Instant Squall and saying that must be a ritual but by the RAW I don't think they would have to (5+ size increases or 4+ and group target are automatically a ritual would be a good house rule). People would learn Neptune's Wrath because lab notes and teacher's for it exist within the Order. It is also far safer and more predictable WRT collateral damage.

It's a common problem, especially for Auaram magi, which is why, again, its so nice to know that as long as you avoid the limited durations and targets, there's no effect cap on the powers of Greater Enchanted Items. An oversight in the system? Perhaps. But one which my Verditius character has exploited with glee in the past.

English fleet? What English fleet? We never saw any English fleet, good Qaesitor. It must have been caught in a storm or something. Most unfortunate.

If your troupe does have a Verditius character, its worth investing in one insta-army crusher devise, especially one of the more "subtle" ones... giant storms do occassionally happen, after all. If nothing else, when paired with appropriate wards and Intellego spells, such storms provide great cover for desperate escapes. Otherwise, some magi with Celestial Magic can reach high enough lab totals for effects that are close enough for smaller forces.

Well there is this one from a recent thread.

You could easily make this one a range sight duration concentration spell if you wanted as well but it just might be the case that the center of the effect is still the safest place to be.

So far we have:
Aquam (maybe too big but drop a couple of magnitudes and 20 hectares will cover a fleet at anchor if not strung out at sea)
Auram (x3, obviously the go-to form for this kind of thing)

so Corpus, Herbam, Ignem still to go.

This would be even better with Harmless Magic:

When the duration ends, all that air pops back into existence and needs to expand outwards, sending a shockwave of furious winds rushing out to equalise the pressure (or, in Aristotilean terms, to find its natural place of rest.)

Talk about your double whammy.

If you must use Formulaic instead of Enchanted Items, I don't think that Ignem is going to happen, unfortunately, unless you get really creative and use a double-hit Columbae special using their unique Hermetic Virtue of Ring Magic.

Create a giant Columbae ring version of a CrIg spell. Can probably do +30 damage as the entire interior erupts in flames, but cast a MutoVim Holding spell on it until the army is within the defined space.

Ambush! :smiley:

The same can be done for Perdo Corpus, Rego Corpus and Muto Corpus.

Columbae held spells can be great as army killers, assuming they don't botch the circle.