Hi, noob here so please be nice. I am an experienced RPGer but new to AM. Im playing a Bjornaer Magus and want to create a new spell.
I want to create a swarm of insects that will cover a group, ideally biting ants or suchlike that get under clothing and armour to distract them, with the aim of breaking concentration for magi and impeding melee/missile weapon users. Damage would be a bonus but is less important.
Range-Voice, Target-Group, probably CrAn I guess. Duration would need to be for a minute or so at least.
My query is the spell level. Ants are very tiny and typically weigh less than 10mg. By comparison a wolf would be about 50kg or so. I would need a lot of ants to cover a group, but even giant ants of 1g would still be tiny, it would need 50,000 giant ants to weight as much as a wolf, and half a million normal ants!!!
But doing the maths I (and by that I mean we as my group are discussing this) worked out that this spell would need to be at lvl35 to produce just 100 normal ants, which worked out at just 10 ants per person for a Group target. The reality is that 10 ants might be mildly annoying but not enough to actually Distract someone in game mechanics terms.
Creating (see ArM5 p.113 box Targets and Creo) oodles of creepy crawlies with CrAn (where by p.117 the size of an Individual is +1) for T: Diameter (p.112) leads for T: Group to a few tons of insects. See in particular p.113 box Targets and Sizes:
A base Group contains about as much mass as ten standard Individuals of the Form. This can be split up in any way desired, so it could be two Individuals, each of five times standard size, or ten Individuals of standard size, or ten thousand individuals, each one thousandth of standard size. Every five levels added multiplies the size affected by a factor of ten.
Creating the creepies belligerent might or might not require a Rego requisite: this may depend on their typical disposition.
Trying to precisely determine whom they attack when is a different issue, though.
Ah, thanks. So the target is the Group of bugs I am creating. I then decide where to create it using my Range: Voice, so I can cast it over there and by doing so will dump a load of bugs on my opponent. If the bugs then choose to bite/annoy people that is their call. Right?
Back to the conversation of levels, what level would I need to pitch this at to be effect with Range: Voice, Target: Group, CrAn. We are talking thousands, if not tens of thousands, to actually be an effective spell.
Spell parametersl would be CrAn, R:Voice, T:Group, D:Diameter
Level 30: Base 5, Voice +2, Group +2, Diameter +1
A base Group contains about as much
mass as ten standard Individuals of the Form.
This can be split up in any way desired, so it
could be two Individuals, each of five times
standard size, or ten Individuals of standard
size, or ten thousand individuals, each one
thousandth of standard size. (ArM5 p113)
A base individual for Animal is an animal of about the size of a pony, Size +1 or lower (p117), so T:Group can create a ton or two of insects. That should be plenty for this purpose.
If you want to make sure that the insects attack the intended targets, and only the intended targets you can add a Rego requisite, which will add another magnitude to the spell, for a final level of 35
They are both Base 5 so it won't affect the total level of the spell. The ReAn version has the advantage of being a "Natural Process" and thus the created vermin are not magical after creation. It has the disadvantage of the total production being limited by the size of the source material and it generally having several requisites.
Would it be allowable to reduce T:Group to T:Individual to create the equivalent size of one pony, but still break it down to more smaller creatures? So in effect a much smaller group?
Doing the maths works out that if a pony if 300kg and an ant is 10mg then I could still get 30m ants if this were allowed, and would reduce spell level to 20...
Then adding Rego to allow control at level 25 might be fun!
Two approaches that might also be worth considering are:
Illusionary insects. No damage, but definitely distracting. The basis would be Phantasmal Animal (CrIm20), with exactly the same parameters, except that it affects Sight, Hearing, and Touch rather than Sight, Hearing, and Smell.
I am not quite sure if the illusion of a swarm should count as T:Ind or T:Group, even though a swarm is certainly a Group, and the illusion of a group of grogs is probably T:Group. Any opinions? I am inclined to say as T:Ind because a swarm is like one big undifferentiated blob, but if T:Group then the spell would be CrIm30, a bit highish.
Motivated, real insects. Magi can easily talk to animals with InAn, and it would be quite possible for a magus to strike a deal with a bee king (remember, medieval bees have kings, not queens!) for the loan of, say, a few thousand bee soldiers to accompany him in a backpack and serve as ... guardbees.
Illusionary insects. No damage, but definitely distracting. The basis would be Phantasmal Animal (CrIm20)
Would haptic species be considered like iconic species thus Parma won't affect them ? So in this case, beside the visual effect, itchiness will also be felt, triggering further Concentration check... I like this option if this is the case.
Regarding T:Ind or T:Group... there is possibility to debate and argue both way: as Ind. a swarm is created as a single entity (=one illusion): it cannot split and remains a cohesive cloud. It's behaviour might feels a bit off as when a real swarm will split (maybe because of going around a pole and flying both around both sides), this one won't.
As Ind +2 quantity multiplier (100 bugs), 100 illusions are created by the same spell. Each one of these illusions can behave slightly differently than the others, possibly flying at several, spaced targets.
I think that as T:Ind the swarm would still be able to "flow around" both sides of an obstacle not too much larger than itself - like the illusion of a fire, for example. However, it would not be able to "do two things at once", such as encircling a person while driving another away.
If I made the spell Range:Touch, Duration:Concentration, Target:Group then it would be:
Base 5, Touch+1, Concentration+1, Group+2
So this equates to Level 25.
Adding Rego requisite makes it level 30.
If so I could then cast the spell and have an army of bugs appear at my feet or from my hands and flow out wherever I want, using Rego to direct them. If so that sounds fun!
Supplemental question: If I make the spell so that it creates land-based insects do I need to specify what insect, or can I choose at time of casting? I.e. could I say ants one time and then stick insects another? Also, do arachnids (spiders, scorpions, etc) still count as 'insects' for game purposes, even though they technically aren't?