Hands of Stone

So I have a player who has been either watching or reading too much Hellboy (or maybe just enough, depending on one's point of view) and wants to create a character who can turn his hands to stone. We figure this is a Personal Power virtue (RoP:M, pg 47). Now we need to work out the spell.

Hands of Stone 35 (MuCo)
R: Per, D: Dia, T: Part
Req: Terram
Your hands become stone. When in combat the stone hands have a damage modifier of +3 when brawling.
(base 25, +1 Dia, +1 Part)

Not sure about all of the benefits of stone hands yet. The +3 bonus to damage was derived from half the damage of a Guan stone mace. I suspect there should be a defense bonus as well; I figure you should be able to block with your hands.

Level 35 seems high -- I would like to give the player more than just a +3 damage for that level of effect. Also, the character is going to have to take the virtue twice to get enough spell levels to have the ability, so again, more than just +3 would be nice. Taking the virtue twice will give him 15 extra levels to put towards penetration or mastery, so that's something at least.

Is this approach correct? Would there be a cheaper way for the character to obtain the power?


Given that the bonus is relatively minor, I'd base it on Eyes of the Cat, with a Terram instead of Animal requisite: the spell changes the target in a minor way so as to give him a minor ability.

Well that makes it much more reasonable level.

Yeah, this is what I did for giving one of my characters claws. Though, my SG was somewhat generous and instead of a combat bonus I got claws as a Brawl-based weapon... with stats reverse-engineered from Stellatus... The Might 50 dragon in the Bestiary chapter... Yeah, that was a bit questionable in hindsight.

If you have a copy, there's a sample power in Realms of Power: Magic, for the Stoneblooded, that does exactly this.

It's significantly more potent at significantly lower magnitude.

Change (Muto) Hands (Corpus) to Stone (Terram)

Utterly change the appearance or size of a person: in this case to basic Terram, clay: Base 3
He's changing his own hands: Range Personal +0
Duration: Diameter +1
Target: Part +1
Terram req shift clay to stone +1
I am minded to say that there should be an additional magnitude for turning both hands to stone, but the various spells that affect eyes do not do this.

My Hands to Stone
Level 10
R: Per, D: Dia, T: Part
Changes the caster's own hands to stone. The stone hands are a moderately hard stone, and can be used as natural weapons, similar to hooves (Init +2, Atk +2, Dfn +2, Dam +1), and are generally insensitive to any sensation, and trivial damage - ordinary small flames, a simple cut, or other very minor damage can be ignored. The stone hands effectively have a Soak of +3: woe betide the mage whose hands are broken. These hands are frozen in whatever shape the caster posed them at the end of casting the spell - fists, claws, or flipper, and the hands need not match - and are useless for casting spells. As with most self-transformation spells, the caster may return his hands to flesh at will.
(Base 3, Diameter +1, Target: Part +1, Terram req shift clay to stone +1)

For casting on another +1
Hands to iron, +1
Making the hands mobile, enough for basic function, with a casting penalty, at least +1
Increasing size, as though hands of a devil, +1

Actually, I'd base it (just like Eyes of the Cat) on the Level 2 guideline: "Change someone to give them a minor ability."

Hands of Stone 4 (MuCo(Te))
R: Per, D: Dia, T: Part
Req: Terram
Your hands become stone. When Brawling unarmed the stone hands have a damage modifier of +3.
(base 2, +1 Dia, +1 Part)

Very low level? Yes, but honestly, it's not any better than wielding a plain old dagger; in fact, worse, since a) you don't get the Atk bonus of a dagger and b) it gets magically resisted. Personally, for balance and aesthetic reasons, I'd make the statistics of the Stone Hands at least on par with those of an Excellent gauntlet (i.e. a gauntlet, with +1 to all relevant rolls: +1 Atk, +2 Def, +3 Dam).

I would say than the penalty to the Perception by touch would be on Dextrety, or be one -1 to Dextrety and Quickness, other than brawl with the fists or maintain the object subjected of course.

Think long and hard about your Saga and where you want the magic to go.

Calling this a "minor ability" establishes a baseline for every MuCo effect to follow. Think about where that will lead for your Troupe, the power level of the magi, and what it will mean to your saga before making a ruling like this.

Some people believe one thing is "minor", others believe the same thing would be major.

For myself, I use Virtues/Flaws as a rough guideline - if it's a minor Virtue, it might be a minor ability. Seeing in low light - minor ability. Hands of stone... additional damage, additional soak, immune(??) to handling fire and heat, possible (relative) strength effects (leverage w/ stone hands v. flesh and blood hands)... yeah, not so much. At least not for me, ysmv.

I'd start by looking at the MuCo Base 15 "resistant to damage +3" effect and keeping "The Central Rule" (p 111) in mind - that effect's in the ballpark. But he has to actually defend to get the bonus (and only against weapons), but otoh there are other advantages, so maybe(?) call it a wash.

That would drop the final effect down to Lvl 25 - more reasonable, and you're not giving away the farm. :wink:

Just make it clear what is/not included in the effect - you don't want him claiming that he can plunge his hands in between millstones to stop them just because "they're made of stone" and ignore that he's only getting +3 soak. This is NOT the full Base 30 effect unless you want it to be. :wink:

If the spell is turning the recipients hands to actual stone, which can then be used to grasp and hold things - then the level should be higher than the Base 2 or 3 guideline. Giving your hands some of the "aspects of stone" or "stone-like" is fine, as long as the description of in-game impact is included. I like the updated description, except the part about Soak.

i.e. Why isn't a +3 soak to hands the same base effect as Gift of the Bear's Fortitude which grants +3 soak to the Ind), with a Part +1 rather than Ind +0?

While I like the lower baseline, it needs to be mitigated by the other guidelines in play. Granting a straight bonus to soak is already a MuCo guideline.

Thanks for all the great feedback. I will need to see if he is expecting stone like immunity or just stone like effects.

Right now I am leaning towards a level 10/15 spell, depending on the bonuses the player wants. I'll post an update when he decides.

For what it's worth, there is a Guideline in the rulebook for turning a person to stone: Muto Corpus level 25, "turn a human into a solid inanimate object", which requires a Terram requisite. To turn just his hands makes it T: Part (+1), so you're already looking at Level 30, even before adding for Range and Duration.

Right. That's the guideline I used in my first spell draft. But level 35 seemed high (25, +1 part, +1 Dia) for the effect the player was looking for. So if he is happy with "stone like" and not "stone" then I think we can use a lower base level.

AM magic is not D&D magic, where you just look at the final effect and say "hmmm... okay, this feels like a 3rd magnitude spell" - and there are reasons for that. The Central Rule does give a SG a lot of latitude (all they want, technically), but if one effect works one way, then it will feel more and more arbitrary if "similar" effects don't work the same way. And when things get arbitrary, that ~can~ break the saga - AM did not win awards for the arbitrariness of its magic system, but to a large degree exactly the opposite.

Not every "minor" effect is a minor spell, that's just the way things work out if you're going to maintain the continuity of the Guidelines. Hands of Stone* doesn't feel like a Magnitude 3 effect to me, not on a par with other Lvl 15 spells, but your saga, your call.

(* If the Player doesn't want all the bonuses that "hands made of stone" would actually give (or doesn't want a spell that high), then maybe they want an effect that is something less than that.)

So then you feel that the level 35 spell I suggested to kick this thread off is the right level for the effect?

I would go for hardness of stone (stone appearence is a cosmetic effect). In practical terms,a stone shell around his hands instead of a total transformation. He would not be able to handle hot stuff with his hands for example, but count as wearing gauntlets (bonuses to combat) sounds appropriate. A magnitude above eyes of the cat as the base guideline.

I would agree that something along those lines looks appropriate to me as well.

Getting +1 Dfn and +2 Dam seem like a minor ability to me. And it would come with the minor drawback of making the hand stiff and hard to use for delicate manipulations. I might not even bump up by one magnitude from the level 2 guideline.

In this case, the Terram requisite represent's the stony hardness of the hands. I would not add a magnitude for the requisite, as it is part of the basic function of the spell and adds nothing to its power. So a R:Per, D:Diam, T:Part would indeed be level 4.

A similar spell with an Animal resuitie could give the target claws, which would be the equivalent of a knife (+1 Atk, +2 Dam).

Perhaps, but I don't think(?) it's the right effect for this mage.

First, central rule - 35 seems rather high for the end results. Maybe not by much, but it just doesn't feel like a full magnitude 7 effect.

However, more importantly, I don't think he really wants hands of actual stone, with everything that would do for him. Think about everything that "stone hands" would/could do, and ask him if he wants/needs all that - immune to acid, immune to heat, immune to poison, immune to being bitten or cut by anything less than a chisel, immune to being crushed by anything less than a (large!) hammer, etc etc etc - I think that's far larger an effect than he needs/wants (well, needs, anyway - he is a Player Character, so there is no limit to "what he wants") - and if so, figure out what he does (reasonably) want, and go from there.

As mentioned immediately above, if all he's looking for is "very tough hands", then something slightly above the Guideline for "a minor effect" would be appropriate.*

(* This is a great example where The Central Rule comes in - Base 15 to "make a body resistant to damage, +3" - but making only his hands have +3 should be lower magnitude, not +1 for "Part". imo.)

So finishing up a chat with the player, he does actually want hands of stone. He knows he could achieve the effects he wants without stone hands, but he really likes the idea and has an interesting back story for the character. He's not trying to min/max the character.

This is for a companion character, not a mage

His plan is to get Hands of Stone using the Personal Power virtue from RoP:M. So, with wanting stone hands, I am back to the base 25 to turn a body to stone, +1 for diameter duration. I am inclined to ignore the +1 part since this is not a spell but rather a power. That makes it a level 30.

If my rules-comprehension is correct, the character is going to have to take Personal Power twice to get enough levels. That would give him 20 levels (2x25-30) to spend on mastery to reduce fatigue and also penetration. As a Minor Magical Quality, the Might cost would be 3 (6/2). That means for Personal Power, the fatigue cost should be 1 (3/5, rounded up).

I suspect he is going to want limited movement of his fingers while in stone form (fairly large dex penalty). I can see adding a magnitude for movable digits, but at level 30 I am feeling generous enough to give him that with a fairly hefty penalty (-3 dex?). I will offer to reduce the penalty for additional magnitudes. I don't expect him to actually bump the magnitude of the power since he is worried about not being able to hit anything with the hands and will want a penetration score. But I do want to offer him the option.

Take a look at the Stoneskinned on page 95. The Body of Stone power (with the scaling, or with a second level of personal power) works very well for representing a hand of stone, which you can use to parry with and attack with.