How much wheat in a harvest?

I'm trying to come up with a spell to create wheat, but I'm not sure how much wheat is produced, say, by a peasant family. How much harvest is a lot? How much is a little? How much would support a covenant?

!!The Instant Harvest
CrHe 20 Ritual
R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group
You create a pile of wheat grains, which are perfectly nutritious and natural. Although natural, the grains typically show the caster's sigil in some manner.
The spell creates a large mountain of wheat, about 100,000 cubic paces in volume.
''(Base 1, +1 touch, +2 group,+4 size)''
Contributer: Yair

According to my old saga notes: 11 bushels of grain will feed 1 roman soldier for a year. That can be grown on one arce of land. So it would normally take about 1 acre per grog to support a covenant.

A bushel is 2,150.42 cubic inches. I'm bad with math, but I think a cubic pace is 46,656 cubic inches. So, if I did this right (probably not), there are roughly 21.7 bushels in a cubic pace. Your spell would therefore produce 2,170,000 bushels of grain... enough to feed about 197,273 soldiers for a year.

I'm hoping I did the math wrong.


Hmm, I get that 11 bushel=0.4 cubic meter (I think in metric units), and 1 pace=1.52 meters so 1 cubic pace=3.54 cubic meters. The spell creates 100,000 cubic paces=354,000 cubic meters, which is enough to feed 885,000 roman soldiers.


Now I'll have to decide if the spell is kosher. I'm not sure if it is possible to create so many grains of wheat, i.e. if the size limits the number of individuals in the group or the overall mass.

What if you just add 02 magnitudes and simply create bread?
Or whatever wheaten product you require.

I am considering magical alternatives to maintaining a covenant. One can create gold easily enough, there is a cannon spell for that. There is also a cannon spell to increase the land's productivity, but I wonder if it's cost-effective. Given the stats here, I suspect it isn't - you're better off producing the wheat directly.
The advantage of wheat as opposed to bread is that you can keep in a granary idefinitely. Perhaps a +1 is required for drying it and so on, but not a +2.

I think that getting enough grain to feed that many people should be more troublesome — otherwise, the magi would rapidly be employed by all of Europe to end famine forever. ("Yes, magi, we can collect eight magic acorns if you will take off a day from your precious research to feed all of southern France this year.") It's got to be harder than this.

I don't know how you discovered that a pace is 1.52 metres. 1.52 metres is not quite five feet — whoever's pace is five feet long is a very, very tall person. I'll set one pace to one yard; if I recall rightly, the length of a yard was originally determined by the length of someone's stride. This gives one cubic pace being 46656 cubic inches (as LuciusT said). That gives 21.7 bushels of wheat per cubic pace. If we let 11 bushels of wheat feed a person for a year, we can call that two people's consumption per year, with no size modifier. So the basic level 4 spell with no size modifier can feed two people per year.

However, I think that even that might be too generous.

Consider that the base size is a plant one cubic pace. But that cubic pace is mostly empty; the base isn't one cubic pace of solid plant matter. Your pile of wheat, though, will be totally full. The difference might well be 10x, meaning that you would need a size modifier of +1 just to feed two people for a year. With this change, the basic spell is level 5.

Further, I'm not sure what I think of the base level. The CrHe guidelines do give a base of 1 for creating a plant product, such as a fruit. But the targets and creo guidelines tell us that you never create a part; the target of creo is always individual or group. That's strange: if I make an arm (just an arm, ex nihilo, not by way of healing anything), I plainly haven't made an individual corpse. It seems to me that the base for creating parts ought to be higher, as though there were an inherent target: part built into the base. That would make the base spell to feed 2 people a level 5.

If we accept both of those arguments, then the basic spell is level 10.

If we reject both arguments, though, then feeding two people is a level 4 spell. You can feed 20 at level 5, 200 at level 10, 2000 at level 15, and 20000 at level 20. This means that in two hours with 8 pawns of vis, a middlin' magus can feed most any major city of the day.

If we accept both arguments, then feeding two people is a level 10 spell. You can feed 20 at level 15, 200 at level 20, 2000 at level 25, and 20000 at level 30. This means that in two and a half hours with 10 pawns of vis, a fairly special magus can feed most any major city of the day.

Even if we reject both of my arguments, then, the spell has been brought under control a little bit, though I still think that world hunger would be eradicated. If we accept them, then the spell is useful only for feeding a fairly small group such as a covenant, and unless it's a very large covenant, there should be surplus for storage or sale. Which means that even on a very pessimistic reading of what's possible, you should be able to feed your covenant on a level 20 spell.

If magi start feeding cities then someone is going to ask where this food comes from: there are no fields, for example. There will however be social unrest etcetera, which is surely interfering with the mundanes.

Looking at it a different way, this unrest is not happening, so the creation of all this wheat is not happening and probably has NEVER happened omn anything but a very local scale and very rarely.

Surely it hasn't happened. But, if it were very easy, then it would have happened. So it isn't very easy.

I see your point about social unrest, but I think that it wouldn't last very long. People don't riot because they're being fed. There might be religious objections. But the parts of Europe in which the Church starved people to death would be parts of Europe in which the Church suddenly got less popular; also, parts of Europe with a very substantial economic disadvantage relative to the magically fed parts. The Church would pretty rapidly find itself deciding that magic food was great; they'd probably turn the CrHe ritual into a sacrament.

I don't think the Order would have ever invented their don't-interfere-with-the-mundanes rule if their magic, combined with very, very common philanthropic feelings, meant that they could save thousands of lives every year with very little effort. They would have put forth every effort to overcome their social disadvantages to offer their Gift to the world.

A pace is nearly five feet? I didn't know that.
I got the number from some unit covertor. Apparently, I picked the wrong kind of pace.

A level 4 spell creates a Group of wheat, and hence a mass of 10 Individuals - in this case, 10 cubic paces, or enough food for 20 people for a year.

Alright, I can swallow that. Level 5 spell, feeding 20 people.

Errrg, this I do not agree with. A Creo spell creates something whole, even if that something could have been a part of someone. If you chop up arms and throw them on the ground, picking one up would require an Individual target, even though moving the arms while they are still attached would have been Part. Just like moving a boulder is an Individual, but if you shatter it into smaller stones each would also be an Individual.

However, we can demand drying and chaffing to require an extra +1 magnitude. So we are at a level 10 spell, feeding 20 people.
You can feed 200 at level 15, 2000 at level 20, and 20000 at level 25. Even a fairly young magus, specialized in CrHe, could feed most any major city with 10 pawns of vis and 2.5 hours of work. (Assuming 40000 is about as large as they get.)
A level 20 ritual would suffice to feed 2000 people - enough for every covenant and with plenty of surplus.

I agree this is too easy. To make the setting plausible, this effect needs to be of higher level.
As long as the spell isn't exploited, I think it's a good way to take care of the covenant - taking up 4 pawns per year, and supplying surplus for mundane resources. But when exploited, it can wreck the setting.

My version of the spell currently stands as:
!!The Instant Harvest
CrHe 20 Ritual
R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Group
You create a pile of wheat grains, which are perfectly nutritious and natural. Although natural, the grains typically show the caster's sigil in some manner.
The spell creates a large mountain of wheat, about 1,000 cubic paces in volume, enough to feed 2000 people for one year (but not luxuriously).
''(Base 1, +1 touch, +2 group,+2 size, +1 processed wheat, +1 whole volume of Individual in plant matter)''
Contributer: Yair
Notes: While this spell conforms to the guidelines, it may be advisable to raise the effect level ad hoc by +2 or more magnitudes, as at its current level it becomes very unclear why the magi aren't feeding Mythic Europe with higher-level versions of this spell.

I think hand-wavey SG options come into play.
The Infernal won't want Famine to be reduced.
The Divine won't interfere , free will and all that.

Magi can use their nous , not to oversupply wheat ,
reducing the price and collapsing the economy of M.E.

I think that you're assuming that the individual is the cubic pace of grain. It seems to me that the individual is a grain. The base size was for a plant one cubic pace; but a pile of grain is not a plant. (As I said, it seems to me that the individual is the entire plant and that what you're making is a group of parts, but I'll assume that I'm wrong about that. There's actually a case that can be made for a fruit or seed being an individual, but not for a leaf.)

I think that what we have here is a hole in the rules through which one could drive an oil tanker. The reason that 'part' is a more difficult target than 'individual' is that an individual is a metaphysical unit that naturally coheres together. This was a remarkably thoughtful decision on the part of the designers. An arm is not such a thing; arms are naturally parts. It's part of their essential nature.

A rock, on the other hand, is never a metaphysical unit under any circumstances, in the metaphysics to which the rules are trying to be responsive. There really should have been another target, 'chunk' or 'blob,' which which have been the same level as individual and which would have been appropriate to uninformed matter. Every spell used for those materials would have been target 'chunk/blob,' and spells would have been differentiated more by the size of the target than its metaphysical coherence. But those ain't the rules we got, and the increase in complexity necessary to introduce the form/matter distinction into the game's metaphysics might be more trouble than it's worth.

I was thinking that the natural limit here would be the specialization. Although this would be very rewarding work (philanthropically and/or monetarily), and so might be very attractive. Maybe herbam vis is just extremely rare? Or perhaps...

This is radical, but maybe vis requirements could increase exponentially as rituals lengthen. Or, like spell magnitude and level, they increase straight up to a point, and then increase by some multiplier. This could be the ad hoc insertion.

Every troupe will be different, but personally I would hate to have rules that allow me to do something very bad, but that I just agree not to follow when a problem might emerge. Not everyone has to have my fetish for consistency, though.

I agree.


Why would the economy collapse? It's true that the price of wheat would plummet, but why that's bad isn't clear. People in unremunerative lines of work move into some more remunerative line of work. Peasants would get out of the wheat production business and into the other stuff production business. Voila, the Renaissance.

While i am far from being a mediaeval historian ,
The Feudal System would seem to be the reason.
I'm sure Berengar or Mary Henry (berk-list) can give more detailed answers.

Allowing for the OOH not to pull the "Interfering with Mundanes" clause.
Supplies of Creo and Herbam Vis remain relatively easy to get.
No magi fight over the sources thereof ,
or that Vis cost increases affect grain prices.

Any plant material can be supplied , not just wheat.
Feudal overlords no longer have to maintain huge pools of agricultural workers.
The "out of my arse figure" (Harn iirc) is 80% of people engaged in agricultural pursuits.
Lets say that the change is gradual ,
so all these people are not unemployed at once.
The owners of the lands can resume all the land these peasants worked on.
Maybe they will turn it all back into forest for a hunting preserve.
Possibly it all gets turned into grazing land for sheep and cattle
(but the OOH can feed them as well).
There are only so many people who can be absorbed into craft industries like weaving , pottery or whatever.
We still have a lot of homeless and unemployed people to deal with.
The Church can use many of these people to help build more Cathedrals.
Dominion Auras would increase at an even greater rate.

Overcrowding in cities , even if all the poor and unemployed are being fed ,
will probably lead to an increase in disease.

Just a few first thoughts about the problems of doing a "loaves and fish" routine with wheat.

I know what 'nous' means. I didn't expect you to use Latin to say, "They would think about it," so I assumed that I had misunderstood you.

I think that we've gotten pretty far from the topic. All I can say is that people prefer not to suffer or die, people like to help other people, people really like to help other people when they can become fabulously wealthy by doing so, and medieval overpopulation worries seem a little stretched.

It is not entirely clear, but I do believe that the relevant measure here is the mass. Taking a grain as an Individual, and reading the sidebar on page 113 "Every Form has a base size for Individual targets... this depends on the mass of the target... A base Group contains about as much mass as ten standard Individuals of the Form. This can be split up in any way desired...", I think that's right.

Hmm, quite possible. But I'm happy to go with a grain as an Individual.

If this was D&D, I'd say the CrHe rules are BROKEN :smiley: As it is ArM, I'm glad to leave the spell as is; let the SG and troupe decide how difficult they want the effect to be.


Thinking about this if I were running a saga and someone suggested this spell...

CrHe 1 can create a plant product. A base Individual for Herbam is a plant roughly one pace in each direction. Now, to my mind, "a plant product" is singular. You can create a single plant product that is up to one pace in size. A grain of wheat is quite bit small, but it is still a single plant product. Creating mutliple grains would be target Group, IMO.

The question then is, how big is a "group of grains?" 10 paces? 10 grains? Now, if it were me, I would rule that a reasonable "group of grains" might actually be a bushel... as, in the mind of the magus, that is a typical measurement for a group of grains. Yes, I have stepped outside the group is 10 individuals guideline and back into the ever-annoying paradigm guideline. :slight_smile:

Accepting, than a CrHe 20 ritual could still create 10,000 bushels... enough to fed nearly 1000 people for a year. Now, that's a lot, but I think it's much more reasonable campaign-wise than the outragous numbers we're getting the other way.

Now, if we ruled that the spell needed an added magnitude to husk and clean the grain, we're down to feeding 100 people for a year... but at that point, why not just create flour and save yourself a trip to the mill.

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It's one of those older aussie expressions ,"using your nous".
My Latin knowledge is zip otherwise.

Well , that's where we differ.
You attribute far more altruism to people than i do.
The overpopulation in cities is from all those newly unemployed agricultural workers.
Why would their feudal landlords still keep them all if they don't need them.
I don't really think they would all be kept on and retrained.

Who would be first among equals with this new , fabulously wealthy group.

Ah. Damned antipodeans.

Since, as I say, I think we're off topic, I'll fail to continue this thread.

In my on-line game our Magi are going into hiding while the Crusades happen outside. We're planning on inventing a similar spell that creates a broad range of vegitarian meals, because we don't want to have cook fires.

We're also planning on giving the mundanes who live off this one warping point per year. It's not strictly according to the rules, but seems appropriate if the only source of food is magical.

The food created with Creo rituals is not magical (if permanent).
There should be no warping from eating it.

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And for a couple extra magnitudes, you can include a (wooden) toy in each bushel of cereal. :wink:

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