Is a Vim Specialist the Ultimate Generalist?

I've been thinking about how a specialist in Vim might be able to enhance his spells from other Forms, and found they are incredibly versatile. They can pretty much turn any spell with Touch range and Concentration duration into any range and any duration, and can also turn their target into Room, Structure or Group, which is specially handy, as I'll explain.

First off, ReVi for range and duration: Intangible Tunnels can be used either with r: Arc or Sight, which turns touch spells into those ranges. Maintaining the Demanding Spell can be used in tandem with d: Sun or Moon to make it last as needed.

When the actual spell is cast, it can be boosted via MuVi. R: Touch can be easily turned into Voice, as well as t: Individual into Room. If the spell is particularly low magnitude compared to MuVi, which it should be, since MuVi has no need to penetrate, it is possible to turn t: Individual into Structure or Group, or to increase Penetration by 10. Being able to turn t: Individual into Room or Group is particularly useful to cast spells at a remote target using an Intangible Tunnel to another target. For instance, Open the Intangible Tunnel to a grog, cast a Fire Ward on him, then cast a CrIg with a t: Group to attack whoever the grog is facing.

Naturally, using MuVi with such frequency requires lots of Concentration rolls, and Cautious with Ability is nearly mandatory.

The extra range and duration afforded by such tactics enables the Vim specialist to stay in a Magic Aura the whole time, which further boosts his casting prowess.

Considering all the above, the Vim specialist is able to boost his other form spells by up to 3 magnitudes of range, 2 magnitudes of duration, and an extra 2 magnitudes that may be either a Target increase or a Penetration increase. On top of that, in a Level 5 Magic Aura, there's another magnitude boost to his casting. This amounts to up to 8 (3 + 2 + 2 + 1) magnitude increases to his effective casting totals for all Forms! How cool is that?


There is one further step for the Vim specialist. Why enhancing spells from other forms when you can transform Vim into these other forms?

The idea has been around the forums for quite a while. I stumbled with the idea here, where ExarKun explains how a MuVi expert could turn one 15 level spell into any other 25 level spell.


The main limitation of the MuVi specialist is that changing TeFo is limited to magnitude/2, hence capped at level 25 without a ritual. Including ReVi in the mix allows for further effective boosts to Range and Duration, and to stay in a Magic Aura at most times. Using MuVi to increase the effect by one step only is not limited by magnitude/2, so there`s no need for a ritual. Furthermore, depending on fatiguing spontaneous spells that rely on concentration to be cast in tandem at all times is unreliable and a recipe for an early Final Twilight.

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MuVi spells cannot be used on spontaneous spells, at least not in my printing of the rulebook. Is there an erratum to change this?

There is no doubt that MuVi and ReVi spells are cool, and enable some really cool effects, but specialising therein makes to me rather the ultimate eccentric than the ultimate generalist.

There are simply too many limitations to make one ultimate way to be a generalist. Tandem casting and concentration rolls is one. Limitations on spontaneous magic is one. The power boosts you mentioned can only be exploited to completeness if you actually need the spell to operate at sight/AC range, more than conc durations, and on more than an Ind target. They do not give you access to powerful touch/Mom/Ind spells.

There should be and is more than one entertaining way to be a generalist. Mu/ReVi may be one of them.

There is a certain stubbornness to the magus who cultivates himself as a generalist through Vim study, refusing to learn the natural forms properly. It is a study in abstraction, which makes for a true nerd. Speaking of which, just like Bonisagus once merged realm specific forms into the one form of Vim, I like the idea of original research to merge every form into Vim (possibly step by step). Mind is matter, and all forms are just manifestations of fluid vis. Or so the nerd argues. If he succeed, you have your ultimate generalist.


That actually was not Bonisagus. His version of Vim could only effect things of the Magic Realm. The actual Magus who did that was Conciatta of Bonisagus, some 150 years later.


Oh OK. I stand corrected.

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You are right, MuVi can't be used on spontaneous spells, but you can cast MuVi spontaneous spells (to MuVi a formulaic spell). The whole idea of the quote above is that you learn one level 15 spell (probably a Vim one), and then you spontaneously MuVi it to any other spell.

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Then the spontaneous MuVi spell has to be level 30, no? Not for newbies.

I agree that a mature magus can reach considerable power by this approach, but decades of study is needed before this approach can compete with a more conventional approach to generalisation. It makes for a true nerd, but the nerds get their revenge in the end.

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Is a Vim specialist the ultimate generalist? Eventually yes, but you will have decades of being outclassed by other magi of the same age in your covenant. If you are starting out as senior magi in a developed covenant, sure it's a great idea to build your character around. If you are starting out as newly-gauntleted, you will face a lot of challenges and would have had more fun taking Life-Linked Spontaneous Magic.


I was going to criticise your post, as if you have a wizard who can cast every single available spell under level 25, everyone else feel superfluous.

As it would require sponting a level 50 spell, I am sure it was joking around.

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His whole point it that he only needs to be good at MuVi, because it appears that you can turn any spell into another spell with MuVi. It's still not trivial mind you.

Well. To spont MuVi50 you need two arts at about 50 each, which is 2550xp. Those 2550xp spread evenly on 15 arts is just one xp short of 18 in each art.

But the spell quoted had a Cr requisite. Then you need 3825xp. Spread across 15 arts that would be 3xp short of 22 in each art, which does not suffice reliably to spont L25 in the normal way.

So yes, it has some merit, but you have 0 in every other art, and thus no non-trivial formulaics.


It's easier than you make it, since no mage would go down that path without an appropriate Magical Focus in metamagic. 33 in 3 arts is 1683 xp which is the same as buying 14 in every art. Assuming the quoted guidelines work as described in that spell - I didn't check - if you buy the former 35/35/35 and 12 0s, you can spont any spell of level 25. If you buy 14 in every art, you can spont any spell at level 15. There's a difference. Of course, it's still at the level where leveling up to that point is horribly inefficient unless you have unlimited vis and a high level aura to work from (but I assume such a character would buy Affinity with Art). Now let's take the same character, and say Chtonic Magic + Minor Magical Focus, you would only need 3 arts at 25 which is 975 xp, which is the same as buying 15 arts at level 11. I think, with that approach, you'd actually be onto something especially since leveing up your arts to 25 is doable with mostly books - you could do this fairly early in your career. The main downside that every spell you do involves a stress dice check, makes you lose stamina, that you suck at certamen, suck at penetration, and got no form bonus for defense.


You are right, a focus becomes exceedingly powerful in this case. Metamagic is to wide for a minor focus, I think, but «changing spell effects» might do it.

Chthonic magic is wicked, but then it would apply to any generalist so it does not change the comparison much.

I thought about affinities and puissance after I had posted. They too become much more efficient when you really just need three arts. Just having them in Vim makes a serious difference. Two techniques on top of the form is expensive.

I looked up the spell guideline [core] and this is were I get worried,

Totally change a spell of less than or equal to half the (level + 1 magni-
tude) of the Vim spell. This may change the Technique, Form, or
both of the target spell, and needs no requisites for those Arts. The
Vim spell affects the structure of the spell, not the things that the
spell targets. A change in power of up to two magnitudes is a total
change. Any greater change requires either Creo or Perdo to create
more magical energy or destroy some.

Touch/Mom/Ind suffices, so you only need to double the level of the spell targetted, and it can be boosted two magnitudes. Hence MuVi30 suffices to change any L15 spell into any L25 effect. Or do a read it badly?

If my reading is correct, a starting character with Muto 10, Vim 10, a magical focus in changing spell effects, can effectively spont any L25 effect. (Adding affinities and puissance lets him do it reliably in adverse auras.) It does take two rounds, since two spells must be cast, and he has to make the concentration roll, which is probably stress, but it is ridiculously powerful.

Looking at the guideline makes me think that this generalist would in fact need to master 4 arts, by adding Perdo onto the list. If he doesn't master Muto, Creo and Perdo, then he'll be stuck with whatever target, duration and range were initially selected (or could only upgrade the spell, but not downgrade a touch spell to a personal effect, and so wouldn't be able to fully play with the guidelines in rebuilding a spell). I also wonder whether the +2 magnitude variation is not intended to be a different total change effect than changing technique and form, the same way the previous guideline allows +/- 1 magnitude, but considers a change of target to be a different significant change. I think this is the case. This would mean that a Mu(Cr)(Pe)Vi40 effect with touch range could change a Pilum of Fire (as an exemple) into any CrIg spell of levels 10-30, but if used to create something else than CrIg, it would be warped into another effect of level 20. Plausibly, I'd allow the player to warp it into a Creo or ignem effect of level 15-25.

If I'm right in my reading, we're now looking at four arts with a companion magus knowing 50 formulaic spells in order to fake with one form what a magus with Diedne magic would pull off alone with a bit more experience.


So many replies, I did not expect that! Thank you all for your interest and contributions. I'll get back to the OP, regarding a combination of MuVi and ReVi, instead of spont Mu(Cr,Pe)Vi.

First off, I aknowledge that powerful Touch/Mom/Ind spells are not available to such a caster. OTOH, casting totals should be boosted by a Magic Aura at most times, and that boost helps with that, if only with a single magnitude. I also believe I may have emphasized too much the specialty, and believe the Vim "Specialist" should also study the other Arts, albeit less than Vim.

As for the notion that this is a strategy that requires many years of experience, I believe that is not the case at all. 1) Only a few formulaic spells are needed; and 2) They do not need to be that high level.

  1. All that is needed are a) Intangible Tunnel-like (IT) effects; b) Maintaining the Demanding Spell (MtDS); and c) MuVi spells.

  2. Let's see how these spells work with low magnitudes:

a) ITs are usually cast with r: arc, d: conc, allowing for same-level spells to be cast through it. A level 5 regular tunnel is opened, or a level 5 tunnel with r: sight, in case there's no arcane connection. IT must penetrate, and level 5 should be easy. MtDS should be used afterwards. With that, another level 5 IT can be cast, but with r: Touch, and d: Mom. A MuVi spell that boosts duration from Mom to Conc should be cast in tandem, and another MtDS to maintain the resulting IT. With a level 5 IT, up to level 25 spells can be cast with r: Touch and actually reach Sight or Arc, which would be level 35 or 40 spells on their own. For every magnitude added to the IT effect, another magnitude can be added to the spells cast through it. Its utility with formulaic spells tops off at level 30, as that would allow a level 50 touch spell to be cast.

b) It takes a modified level 15 MtDS to maintain concentration for up to Moon duration on the tunnel. It does not need to penetrate, so it is not capping the maga's power. It also adds another magnitude to the effect alongside a magnitude increase to the spell level. The utility of this spell tops off at level 40, when it can maintain level 30 ITs for d: Moon. It could theoricatilly be used as a level 50 spell to maintain level 40 spells for d: Moon, or level 45 spells for d: Sun.

c) MuVi spells are able to boost (magnitude-1) spells with r: Touch and d: Conc by a single magnitude, or (magnitude-1)/2 spells by two magnitudes. To target level 25 spells, which were the original IT cap estabilished in "a", MuVi spells of level 30 can be used to boost a single magnitude. Again, it does not need to penetrate. This can be used to target a Room where the individual is present, increase penetration by 5, or increase duration from Mom to Conc, allowing another MtDS to extend it for Sun/Moon. In this case, a level 40 MtDS would be useful. If the inteded target is Group, a level 20 spell can be cast through the IT and boosted by a level 50 MuVi.

Putting it all together:
3 ReVi @ level 5 IT effects (need to penetrate);
+MtDS @ level 40 (don't need to penetrate);
+3 MuVi @ level 30 (don't need to penetrate);
= Level 25 r: Touch, D: Mom turned into R: Arc, D: Moon (effective level 55) or D: Mom +5 Penetration (effective 45), or D: Mom, T: Room (effective 45), all cast in a Magic Aura, perhaps with Wizard's Communion (it's MuVi after all!)

Pulling off ReVi 40, MuVi 30 and generic TeFo 25 at first may be tough, but they all scale linearly when it comes to magnitude, so it's easy to scale it down. To cast TeFo X (which might need to penetrate), you need MuVi X + 5, and ReVi X + 15, neither of which need to penetrate. Maybe it starts off as ReVi 35, MuVi 25, TeFo 20, which means level 15 guidelines + 1 Touch. If you're having trouble with penetration, a TeFo level 5 guideline + 1 Touch can have its penetration boosted by 10 with a MuVi 35. Having some sort of Vim specialization is needed, but not that much.

I'm considering the MuVi formulaic spells can either:
Increase d: Mom to Conc specifically (instead of increasing duration by 1 step), and can target any Form;
Increase t: Ind to Room specifically and can target any Form;
Increase penetration by +5/+10 and can target any Form.

Thanks again for joining in the discussion!

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I love this concept as much as the Mu(Cr, Pe)Vi sponter. To be honest these concepts tend to shape characters way too much to make them fun to play, but I'm definitively building a NPC magus around this. Just one silly thing:

ITs use this guideline:

Create a conduit or container for spells with level less than or equal to the level + 5 magnitudes of the Vim spell.

So the absolute minimum level to cast a IT spell of R: Arc., D: Conc. is 10, for Base 1, +4 Arc, +1 Conc, unless you allow negative or 0 base levels, which we find extremely odd because we feel that base 0 should do nothing.

Not that your IT speciallist can't have level 5 tunnels, of course, if you want to limit the spells you can get back at you through the tunnel: we do them by casting a level 10 IT, and then forking it into two level 5 ITs.

That is really interesting. I never thought of forking to create a weaker effect than the minimum. Regarding base 0, it would be an effect that even an apprentice with recently opened arts could spontaneously cast without spending fatigue. I would find it odd if they could not cast any spontaneous spell at all without spending fatigue. How do you reconcile the non-existence of negative magnitude effects with regards to Intellego Vim magic? They do detect negative traces, so a base effect of 0 cast at Per, Mom, and Ind, would even be traceable.

I see the logic there, but I'm not sure. Spontaneous casting isn't easy: think that Diedne herself was the one that taught Bonisagus how to do it, so you probably are expected to learn some Magic Theory before getting to that.

Also if you want to spont 0 level effects consider that you can't put parameters in them besides R: Per, D: Mom, T: Ind. I think we'll stick to a minimum of Base 1 and have these apprentices spending fatigue (and also able to increase parameters so for example they can start a fire on something that isn't themselves :sweat_smile:)

Well, True Lineages makes a distintion between the magnitudes of spells and magnitudes of traces (subtly, by saying that traces also have magnitudes). It is an elegant way to measure the decay of the magical residue, but I don't think it can be directly related to base levels.

It could, anyway, and just by mentioning these you convinced me to just drop my non-zero-or-less-base-effects policy, but unfortunately I didn't had the time to reply back there and I'd spent some more time thinking of that, so the little Tytalus in my mind had time to come with a couple of worrying ideas;

The first one is: why stopping there? Why not negative base effects?

The second one is: what about penetration then?

Let's focus on CrIg spells. The base effects to do a damaging fire is Base Effect level +5, with examples at base 5, 10 and so on in the corebook, and there is also Searing Touch on Hermetic Projects doing damage +5 for a Base of 4. So stepping down it seems reasonable that a Base 3 could create a fire doing +0 damage, Base 1 would create a fire doing -10 damage (which for me would be the lowest you could aim for) and, if allowed, Base 0 would create a fire doing -15 damage (and if we consider negative base effects, consider a Base -5 which would do -40 damage).

So let's go full into the wild and say we allow even negative effects. Then look at this spell:

Moon bomb
CrIg 0 (D: Moon, R: Voice, T: Ind)
Creates a translucent, moonlight looking fire, to burn over a target, doing -40 damage for Moon duration.
Base -5, +3 Moon, +2 Voice.

...Which is a deadly death-by-statistics spell: even when the -40 damage modifier make it look quite harmless it runs for Moon duration, one moon cycle last slightly above 400000 rounds, so you could force 400000 stress rolls; around 20 of these rolls will be 1, 1, 1, 1 and something bigger than a 5, thus getting a stress roll of 6 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 96 and over (...and a couple of rolls could end going over 192), absolutely overblowing the -4 penalty. And think about the penetration you can get subtracting nothing from your Casting Roll!

If we stick to 0 or positive base, then we consider this other version...

Candle boom
CrIg 5 (D: Moon, R: Voice, T: Ind)
Creates a translucent, moonlight looking fire, to burn over a target, doing -15 damage for Moon duration.
Base 0, +3 Moon, +2 Voice.

...which goes up to level 5 and still is the same nightmare of rolling almost half a million times and knowing that at some point the 1's are going to cascade and burst the target into ashes (and Penetration would be dreadful as well).

So mostly because of the mechanics of stress dice, I'm always happy of finding ways to reduce the number of stress rolls, and for damaging spells you do that by punishing longer durations by adding many magnitudes. But if you allow 0 or negative bases then there is just plenty of room for these time bombs spells to work.

(This being said I'm starting to love them way too much).


Negative base effects are on a whole new level, since there's no lower bound. That is pretty cool.

The CrIg numerical reasoning seems accurate. Thinking about the physical side of what it actually represents, I would think there should be some minimum to the fire damage. Wood Fire deals +5 damage, while Boiling Water Deals +3, and Ice deals +1. If something has the same temperature, heat does not transfer, and it cannot burn. That might be something like +0 damage, in the case of fire. Considering the corrosion rules, which increase the bonus, it also makes sense, since full immersion in a +(-1) damage substance would deal less damage than partial immersion.

While thinking about that, I thought it might also apply to the IT you mentioned. While it is not a physical concept, there might a limit to its minimal power, just as there's a limit to what can actually burn. This argument actually made me think that the guidelines should not be extrapolated stepping down, which I originally did with the IT.

With regards to low magnitude Moon duration damaging spells, they are easily dispelled with PeVi, so at the very least they're not that great for Wizard's War. The main point, however, is whether the damage is rolled once and is dealt every round for the spell's duration, or if it is rolled every round. In the latter case, it actually makes the Vim Specialist pretty deadly, as he can cast Touch / Mom / Ind spells through an IT, boosted with MuVi to increase duration to Conc, and Maintained for Moon with MtDS. He can cast CrIg 5 with +5 damage, Voice/Sight/Arc, and Moon!