Item for moderation: Rod of Painful Weariness

I recently asked each of my players to put their newly gauntleted magi's stats on the web, write backstories, and write out their next two years of lab plans. A lot of work. So I rewarded the players for completion by having their masters present their characters with a magic item after they passed their gauntlets.

Here's the first one. Fans of the book/TV series "Legend of the Seeker" will recognize the source of this idea:

Wand of Painful Weariness (PerdoCorpus w/Mentem Req.)
Effect Level: 37
Range: Touch, Duration: Concentration, Target: Individual
The rod must be held in the hand and the end pressed against the bare flesh of the target. The target feels significant pain, although no damage is actually inflicted, for as long as the rod is applied and concentration is maintained. When concentration is dropped, the target loses a fatigue level.

  • This item was created by Andonica, the Blue Witch of House Ex Misc. It bears her sigil of blue, crackling, cold flames that charge the air around the effect.

  • The rod has an effect use restriction: Andonica and her apprentice, the Red Witch.

  • The rod has an effect expiry: 70 years, which doubles the amount by which the lab total exceeds the level of the effect.

  • Shape and Material Bonuses to Lab Total: The Rod (+4 destroy things at touch range*) is constructed of human bone (+4 destroy the human body) wrapped in red leather encrusted with Amber (+3 corpus). Magic theory 11 required to take advantage of all bonuses.

*(I added "Rod" as a shape bonus similar to "wand.")

  • Effect Level: Base 10, +1 magnitude touch, +1 magnitude Concentration, +1 magnitude Mentem Req., +5 levels for 10 penetration, +4 levels for 12 uses per day, +3 levels for the effect use limit

  • As Lesser Enchantment: 4 Pawns vis, Lab total: ? (not calculateed, item created by NPC who can be assumed to have sufficient totals)

Four things:

1: According to the errata, Effect Expiry is not to be used on Lesser and Charged items.
2: What's the Mentem Requisite for?
3: Add a magnitude for the pain effect. That's more than merely cosmetic.
4: A Fatigue level will be lost by the target for each round of Concentration.

  1. Thanks for the heads up. Its a gift from a powerful parens, so it could just as easily be an invested item if necessary.
  2. The mentem requisite was for the pain effect. Adds a magnitude.
  3. See 2.
  4. Hmm. That sucks for the effect I was going for. I want it to cause a single fatigue level loss per use, or its too powerful for the intended purpose. The concentration duration is to produce the pain effect, which leaves little lasting effect, but has a nice story effect
  1. As mentioned above, expiry is only applicable for invested devices, not lesser devices.
  2. I read this as PeCo (Base 4, cause pain to a target, +1 touch, +1 Conc) possibly with item maintains concentration, with a linked trigger effect PeCo (base 10 cause the loss of a fatigue level, +1 Touch, +3 linked trigger. Note that no Mentem req is required.
  3. Since 2. contains 2 seperate effects, this must be an invested item - make sure Vis capacity is sufficient.
  4. I cannot duplicate your level of 34, also: How many uses per day? does it have any penetration?

Pain is Corpus effect, not Mentem.

If it was me building or adjudicating the effect, I'd go with the lvl 10 effect as a base (loss of a Fatigue Level) and add 1 magnitude for the secondary effect (pain).

Boosting the effect to Concentration would mean loosing one Fatigue Level every round. Which may make sense, or not, depending on what the intent was. If the intent is torture (where not having the target pass out prematurely is preferable), I would say that the Fatigue loss could be toned down so it occurs only once every 10 rounds of continuous use ("Pain! Pain!!!"). This would result in a Base level 10 +1 Touch +1 Conc +1 secondary effect = level 25.

If you feel generous, you could say that the Fatigue loss is a secondary effect of continuous use (Sta check every X rounds of application) and use the lvl 4 guideline. This would result in a Base level 4 +1 Touch +1 Conc = level 10. Flavour text could then be something like: Causes intense pain to the target, but no real damage. The pain does not prevent the target from acting, so restraining him may be a good idea. Although no real damage is done, continuous or repeated use of this effect (10 or more rounds) over a short period of time requires a Sta check by the target against an EF of 6 to avoid loosing a Fatigue Level.

I'd build as follows:

PeCo base 4, touch range, concentration duration brings the 'spell level' to 10. Add uses per day, requirement for use and penetration as desired.

Say the item was created with experimentation, with 'beneficial side effect' rolled. The beneficial side effect is the target must make a stamina check of 6+ when the effect ends or lose a fatigue level. Vary the fatigue effect to taste.

While Vespasian above appears to be formally correct, this is my prefered version

Here's the story on this item:

The blue witch took on an apprentice early in her career. She dottered on her apprentice like a modern "helicopter parent." As a result of her inexperience and permissive, overly supportive attitude, the apprentice turned out weak and resentful.

Years later, she took on her second apprentice. The blue witch is a changed woman, having become an infernalist, a Luceiferian. She swears that this apprentice will be brought up with a firm hand. She crafts a rod to properly chastise her pupil.

As her apprentice reaches gauntlet, the Blue Witch secretly crafts a second rod, which she gifts to her apprentice, the new Red Witch, upon her ascension to the Order, that she may one day chastise her own apprentice. In the meantime, the Rod will have other uses as well...

Why must the item maintain concentration? That's not the effect I was going for. If the "torturer" gets distracted, I want the effect to end, and the fatigue loss to happen.

I guess I thought mentem made more sense because it isn't causing any real tortue or wound, just the mental experience of same, but there seems to be consensus that its not needed so I'll drop it.

That's limited by shape/material bonuses, right? We've got 11 if there's no big beef with my "rod" bonus idea.

I started with effect level 10, for loss of a fatigue level. Then 1 magnitude for touch range (15), 1 mag for concentration duration (20), 1 mag for the mentem requisite, as it was enhancing the effect, not merely necessary for the effect (25), 5 levels to give the item 10 penetration (30), four levels for 12 uses per day, bring me to (34), as summarized in my initial post. I see now that I missed the last 3 levels for the effect use limit, so (37), not that it matters since it appears I was basing the effect off the wrong spell level.

  • Effect Level: Base 10, +1 magnitude touch, +1 magnitude Concentration, +1 magnitude Mentem Req., +5 levels for 10 penetration, +4 levels for 12 uses per day, +3 levels for the effect use limit

I like this idea because it supports the item's background story...assuming that, once an item is created through experimentation and a lab text is written up, the item can be created again later by the same magus or another with access to the lab text. I haven't played with experimentation much yet.

Does the benificial side effect add any levels? If not, I think it would be:

  • Effect Level: Base 4, +5 levels for 10 penetration (9), +4 levels for 12 uses per day (13) , +3 levels for the effect use limit, (16), +1 magnitude touch range (21), +1 magnitude duration Concentration (26)

Serf's Parma, I assume that levels should be added before magnitudes, as the reverse could be cheaper?

Also, are there any rules out there for making an item/spell cheaper by introducing restrictions on the effect? In this case, I specified that the Rod must not only touch the target, it must be pressed against bare flesh. That's for flavor, but it does (arguably) make the item less powerful.

The item seems to have 2 effects: cause pain for the Duration (Concentration) and loss of a fatigue level (effective duration: instant). No books on hand, but I would check the base level for both effects and apply the higher one, with a plain +1 magnitude for the additional effect. +1 magnitude for Touch. Add uses + penetration and there you go. A useful and characterful item. Well done :slight_smile:


Speaking on someone else's behalf :slight_smile:
Notice the word possibly - if that doesn't jell with you concept, don't bother!

See the PeCo guidelines on p. 133

That's Material times Size see box on p. 97 - I doubt it will be a problem.

I liked Vespasian's version with 2 effects, one triggered off the end of the other.

You are doing some things backward. Add all the magnitudes for the spell effect before adding things like penetration to get the modified effect level.

So first you have a PeCo base 4, then you add a magnitude for Touch and another for Concentration. Now it's a level 10 effect. If you want to modify that by +1 magnitude for the added effect, go ahead, or don't increase it if you like the beneficial side effect idea. Afterward add uses per day and the like from here.

I would go with a lesser enchanted device because it's much cheaper in time and vis and so makes a more reasonable gift to a graduating apprentice.


On #4, as long as you don´t modify something to be more powerful/effective than it´s guideline allows, then adjust the effect as you WANT it.
On #2, even if by the book it´s not needed, i think it´s a "nice" touch added to have the pain be caused directly with both Co and Me.

The Red Witch with her Agiel, neat... I´ll just add also that if you´ve only seen the tv-series, read the books, far better up until the last 2-3 which frankly sucks almost as bad as the tv-series.

Nope, spell levels comes first as you need to remember the spell-like starting level for... dispell purpose I guess.

Starting level = Base 4, +1 magnitude touch range (5), +1 magnitude duration Concentration (10)
Effect Level: starting level (10), +4 levels for 12 uses per day (14), +5 levels for 10 penetration (19), +3 levels for the effect use limit (22).

Thanks everyone for the ideas. If not too many people quibble with the idea, then I think I'm going with the above math.

Andonnica (the Blue Witch of Pralixian Lineage of House Ex Misc) created the item as a minor invested item, in keeping with the suggestion as what might be appropriate for a gauntlet gift. Her Arts are not as great as her ambitions, part of the reason she secretly became a Luciferian binder.

While her lab total would have been sufficient to create the first of these items (the one she used to chastise her pupil and retains) without any experimentation, I can easily see her experimenting when creating the item, for any number of reasons. As SG, I will simply fiat that the experiment resulted in a side-effect (5-6, on the extraordinary results table in ArM5, p109). Specifically "9" on the side effect table, "the spell has a major side benifit. For example, A spell that transforms you into a wolf also allows you to speak to all beasts while a wolf."

The first time that she used the Rod to chastise her pupil, she discovered that, not only did it cause sensations of excruciating pain, but when the Rod was withdrawn from her pupil's bare flesh, her pupil was visibly winded as well. When her unruly student required another chastisement shortly after, her suspicions were confirmed as her pupil appeared even more tired afterwards.

She has incuded that benificial side-effect in this, the second rod she has crafted, a gift to her apprentice upon gauntlet.

Examples of why:

  1. A MuVi effect in the item to affect that spell uses the spell's level, not its modified level. This one I know for sure.
  2. Dispelling, as you mention, should work the same way.
  3. Protection from spells below a certain level should work the same way.
  4. Warping should work the same way.

Plus, of course, magnitudes and levels don't add the same way at low levels and so doing magnitudes before levels keeps things consistent.


For what it's worth:

Serf's Parma, but I believe there's a published spell somewhere that causes pain.

I think you should use it, with duration momentaty, and unlimited uses.

Why drop concentration? Well, if I understand correctly what you're trying to emulate, the rod causes pain when it touches someone. When it doesn't, the pain stops.
With D: Conc, you could touch someone one and, theoretically, have him be in pain for the rest of the day, even it you teleported to the other end of Mythic Europe.
With unlimited uses, so long as, each round, you touch the victim with the rod, it works.
This also saves you some levels.

See Chastise the Unruly Antagonist, Magi of Hermes; page 131.

Excellent points!