How to create a Curse of Avian Fury spell?


Melisande Aello (aka Bird Girl) has a Major Magical Focus: Birds (and also: Enduring Magic).

She wants to create a curse that does the following: Any birds that see the target are compelled to attack or otherwise harass that target in whatever manner is most natural to them. Bird of prey may make diving passes, sparrows may pull at hair and make concentration difficult, and pigeons might poop on the target.... etc. etc.

However, I am having difficulty in designing such a spell.

It's Rego Animal, as best I can determine, but the target? How do I relate it to a human who is the victim of this curse?

Similarly, how would you design other curses? It is a hard thing for Hermetic Magic to pull off? What about a curse of bad weather? A curse that made any sea voyage you took end in a horrible storm and a shipwreck?

Ideas? Thoughts?



With the bird spell, I'd concentrate not on the "Corpus" aspect of Animal, but on the "Mentem" half- that is, you plant a mental suggestion to attack a certain person.

I don't see a way with standard Hermetic Magic that you could cast a "curse" on a person such that they would attract such attention. Possibly(?!) with a CreoVim with Rego Animal requisites (to generate an ongoing and constant magical effect around the cursed target), but that is starting to push the boundaries of Hermetic Magic as defined.

With the weather, again, somehow you would have to generate the magical effect around the boat in question (as Weather really doesn't have any emotions/mind that could target a specific enemy). Won't say it couldn't be done, but it certainly wouldn't be standard afaik. :confused:

If you're going for Rego Animal, you'll need Sensory Magic to affect any animal that sees the target... too bad it's limited to Personal range. :slight_smile: Otherwise, Creo Vim might simulate the taint of the Gift in a person, thus attracting the disfavour of any animal they may encounter.

I don't really know. That's an interesting problem.

As much as I hate to say it, this is something that Standard Hermetic Magic cannot do as written. This can be addressed in the Bjornaer Mystery: Sensory Magic, something which I think the moment a Bonisagus became aware of, would instantly begin experimenting to add to general magic theory.

I've been thinking of running a game where Sensory Magic was recently incorporated into Hermetic Theory just because of all the cool stuff you can do with it.

Actually, as I consider it, since sensory magic is basically non-standard targets (or something). Theoretically anyone could include them in a formulaic spell at something like an additional magnitude. (That is, if you think sensory magic doesn't butt up against the limitation of Arcane Connection, which I think it does.)

How about using an arcane connection with a combination of spells/invested devices?

Curse of the birds
Open the intangible tunnel ReVi 79
base 45, +4 Arc, +1 conc
+1 uses, +3 environmental trigger, +5 item maintains conc
Twice a day will open a tunnel to the target of the AC. This will also trigger the tow other effects.

Locate the Birds InAn 24
base 1, +3 sight, +1 conc, +2 group
+1 uses, +3 linked trigger, +5 item maintains conc
Casts an intellego animal to find the birds around the targeted person.

The Bird's Wrath ReAn 44
base 5, +3 sight, +1 conc, +2 group
+1 uses, +3 linked trigger, +5 item maintains conc
Rego animal to make the birds furious with the effected person

I'm not too sure about the sight range, but the general idea is to target all birds within sight of the target.

I read a study from an ornithologist who had accidentally given this curse to one of his students by assigning the student the task of counting eggs. After that, the student couldn't make it from one side of the campus to the other without being attacked in a way very similar to what you described. It didn't matter what he was wearing, the birds recognized him as "the egg theif" and attacked him on sight.
Thinking of that, I thought maybe a Muto Imaginem spell. Change someone into whatever looks like an "egg theif" to a bird. The person also looks like an egg theif to a human, but humans don't notice. OR you could use a Rego Mentem spell to make them climb trees and steal eggs. Then he will be an actual egg theif and the birds will attack... and he will fall from a tree and possibly get seriously injured.

Hm, why is it all the cool things I want to do with magic - that it seems like magic should be able to do - turn into things that are impossible?

Hrn... guess I'll look over sensory magic and see if I can cobble together something, or otherwise ditch the spell...

Thanks for all the opinions and different takes on the problem thus far!


Using size magnitude modifiers should be enough to rego the birds in a large area to attack. No need to detect the birds et al. Just target a large area and otrder all the birds there to attack the poor fella. A single spell. Muxch easier to achieve :slight_smile: A pair of magni8tudes for number of birds should be enough to justidfy all birds in a kilometre/nmile area to tear the poor dude into submission.

Gonna love hitchcock :slight_smile:



But that's not, as I understand it, what V wants to do.

As I understand it, V wants to be able to curse a target (person) so that wherever they go, birds attack them. For the (long, I assume) duration of the spell. That is, so that they cast the effect you describe, carrying it with them wherever they go. A real "curse".

You could easily do it with carnivores- giving the target person "the smell of blood & fear", or something. That would even make domesticated dogs bark and act oddly, even if it didn't send them into a killing frenzy.

If, as a SG, I decided to open this door in a Saga I ran (and I don't see a big problem doing so, but I'd prefer to know the Player better, and their play style), I might let some minor Magical Research find a parallel trigger for birds (the "egg thief" equivalent, from above), and allow it to go from there - it's not quite new ground, just something that human senses don't register (like the "fear & blood"), but also something that we are not as aware of as a trigger.

But the laws of magic suggest(?) that if it can work for one type of animal, something should(?) work for another. ymmv.

Hound has the right of it.
My player with MMF: Birds wants to be able to cast a Hitchcockian spell that recreates "The Birds" as a curse. Birds are agitated by you. They make your life difficult, they attack, etc.

So, as a reward for making a spell idea more interesting than a Pilum, he is... unable to make that spell.

I love Ars' magic system, but am quickly becoming frustrated by it.


Don't be frustrated, just think outside the box (and get your SG to do the same!)

There is almost always more than one way to achieve a desired end effect (altho' the details/method may not be exactly what was first envisioned.)

The elegance of the AM system is that it is a true system, that it has rules and limits, and it doesn't just do "stuff" whenever you want it to (unlike other RPG magic systems.) To achieve your "Curse of The Birds", you need to either:

  1. Figure out a way for the Target to emanate a magical effect on surrounding birds (perhaps some CreoVim variation?)

  2. Label the Target with something that will trigger a natural reaction in birds that are around them (Muto Corpus/Animal should do that).

The former should take some Magical Research as it changes the RAW, but the latter not so much.

There is a 3rd way as well...

  1. An Enchanted Item, with constant effect, planted on the target. The item creates the magical effect, done deal. (I guess in theory once could enchant the target themself to serve the same end function - perhaps this would require a Ritual spell?)

Hum... Wouldn't a ReAn spell with both duration and increased group size work?

Something along the lines of

Curse of the Avenging Birds 35
Range: Eye, Duration: Moon, Target: Group (*10)
This spell compells all birds around you to attack you, marking you as food (kind of reverse "disguise of the putrid aroma").

Design: Base 2, +1 eye range, +2 voice range (acts on all birds at voice range from you), +3 duration, +2 target, +1 increased size (may affect 10 times as much birds).

The base may feel slightly low, although this is consistent with Cuchulainshound's idea (giving the target person "the smell of blood & fear"). You may wish to trade it for base 5 - manipulate an animal's emotions - although this would make the spell a ritual, which you could cast through an Intangible tunnel.

The idea is good, but the spell as described doesn't achieve the effect.

Your spell affects the birds nearby- once left behind, once they run away from those particular birds, the subject is no longer "cursed". Changing the target, the person to be cursed, would work, but that would have to be a MuCo (probably with an Animal req.)

The challenge/obstacle is to rationalize this "marking"- while blood attracts sharks, and rotting meat attracts scavengers, and "the smell of fear" attracts predators- what attracts birds, as a class, to go on the attack???

Of course, but the birds will follow him. How do you run away from birds? And there are birds everywhere, too.
So I figured it wouldn't be a problem.

But then, you can still add a little duration (diam or sun) if you feel inclined to do so.

They aren't attacking per se, just trying to eat.

But then, the spell just "plant a single suggestion in the mind of an animal" - attack -

"The Devil is said to be an expert at cursing..."

If you care to corrupt the PC, Chtonic Magic and Malediction can do the job. Being hated and attacked by birds wherever you go is probably somewhere between a minor and major flaw.

So a level 25 base guideline, incantation-malediction-creo-vim (animal), perhaps? Phantom gift-alike. :smiling_imp:

Alternately, a recurring if (condition) spell could do it just fine. Requires the merinita Spell Timing mystery, though.

A divine curse could probably also do it.

Or, most easily, a Hex.

But no, wholly standard hermetic magic can't do it in a single spell, I think.

Hmm... Strictly within hermetic guidelines is tough. Try these ideas on for size...

For an enchanted item:

An invested device that causes all birds it sees to try and attack the wearer.

(A) Intelligo Imagonem with an Animal requisite for the device to see (constant effect) and recognize birds
(B) Rego Animal ("Attack this person", unlimited uses, triggered by effect "A")
(C) Rego Corpus (Unable to remove or cover the device, constant effect)
(D) Rego Mentem ("Always keep device out when outside", constant effect)
(E) Rego Mentem (Never allow a person to cover or steal the device, constant effect)

I'm not sure how to do it with a spell without attaching a bunch of requisites.

Frankly, I would design a CrIm ritual at arcane connection range that would make the person smell like a particularly large pile of wet bird poop for a year and be done with it.


I've always thought that a poetically phrased Until(something moderately to horribly unlikely) duration is stylish for curses. Requires faerie magic, of course. And ought to require reading Neil Gaiman's Stardust first. :slight_smile:

There's a virtue that can help with that, the forgotten-but-so-useful-mutante-based-virtue Tethered Magic. With that you can change the "owner" of the spell to pass it to a person or to pass it to a item.

There is so much stuff you can do with Tethered Magic and Sensory Magic. Soo much possibilities... :smiling_imp:

That or a muto vim spell to Boost the range of the sensory magic spells.
I invoke my serf's parma but I think this is feasible theses ways.

Well, hope this help !

That sounds incredibly useful. Which book has "tethered magic"?

Oops somehow my question posted twice! Weird! :blush: ignore this!