Item for moderation: Rod of Painful Weariness

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!

Mechanically, if that's cheaper/more suitable, I can see why it would be better. But it doesn't fit with the creator's intentions at all.

Concentration duration allowed her to make each punishment/learning-to-endure-pain session as short or as long as she desired.

If she had to chastise her pupil more than 12 times a day, she would have simply sacrificed the child to Lucifer.

Is the story-picture clear, or am I describing poorly?

Doh! That makes sense. Yes, I want the rod to be touching the person for the duration of the pain experience, and then at the end (when the rod is no longer touching bare skin and/or concentration is dropped) the target loses a fatigue level.

Is there any way mechanically to give a spell/effect a "necessary condition?" I can think of several examples in spells, but I'll cite just one: Murigen in "The Champion's Portion" in ToME has a spell that turns her into a fish. When casting the spell, she drapes a piece of chainmail over her forehead. The spell has sun duration, or ends if the chainmail is removed - spell effect ends when skin-contact is broken.

That's a spell, not an item, but it seems to me that many examples of spells/items go beyond the spell/guidelines/item creation rules, which are really quite limited and vague. I honestly wish that the spell creation guidelines were more detailed and specific, that we weren't forced to infer so much unspecified wisdom from sample spells in the core book. But since that's what we've got, I'm inclined to think its ok for creativity to stretch the boundaries of the guidelines.

As long as the result is something that is more limited, not more powerful, and no hermetic limits or technique/form guidelines are stretched or broken, while the story is enhanced, I really don't see a problem. Rules are there to facilitate storytelling, not the other way around. If I'm breaking RAW by contradicting it, that's bad (in how I run this saga) but if I'm just filling in fuzzy gray areas with a one-off case, that's ok I think.

Perhaps the unusual effect is why she was experimenting in the first place?

That makes it a combat usable weapon. Each round, you smack someone: They feel pain, lose a fatigue level. Or I have to remove the fatigue loss entirely, in which case, it doesn't have the desired effect of wearing out her unruly pupil (in story, this was an unintended, but benificial, side effect of the item invention).

Doesn't allow for longer torture sessions either, as after 6 rounds, they'd pass out.

Now, some might be thinking, why make an item at all? Why not just use a spell? She's, after all, a powerful magus. Answer: never risk botching in front of your pupil.

Some might wonder, why make the item so limited? The target needs to be bound or willing for the item to be useful. Answer: yep. Its a torture device, or something used on a "willing" target, like a pupil who must follow your commands, else suffer a worse punishment.

If she just wanted to kill the person, she's got Malfadeica for that :wink:

Dang. My covenant's library has passed into Summer, but not yet Autumn. MoH is on my buy list, but not yet amongst the 20+ ArM5 books weighing down my shelf.

Using Foci in shapechanging spells is specifically a feature of Muto Corpus spells, as mentioned on page 132 of the main rules. I imagine that they are the left-overs of imperfect integration into Hermetic theory, but maintained due to the utility.


Imperfect? I had thought of them as superior integration into Hermetic theory. They are not needed at all. However, if you choose to use them, you can then end the spell at will. How many other non-Concentration spells can be ended at will? As an optional extra to allow something not normally possible, it just seems as though they allow for more than normal within a limited area Hermetic theory.


If you do it this way, then you'll want to use the Base to lose a Fatigue Level. If you are using the Fatigue level as a benefit from experimentation and using the Base for pain, I would have the Fatigue Level's loss based on the duration of the pain. For example, perhaps a Stamina stress roll when the pain ends with a Difficulty equal to the number of Diameters over which the pain was maintained would work. This way a strike in a single round would be unlikely to cause a Fatigue Level loss when using the pain guideline.


Sounds like the effect you're looking for is the Cruciatus Curse.

Thanks for the reference. As I've told my players, having read 20+ Ars Books in 6 months, some things slip by.

Yup, I was thinking about something similar.

Take "Chastise the Unruly Antagonist", add a magnitude for the added effect, and make the target do a stamina stress roll (modified by applicable virtues/flaws) based on the duration to avoid the fatigue. I was thinking more of Diff 1 per turn, but, well, this is very subjective.

I agree - 'imperfect' and 'superior' need not be mutually exclusive. I characterise an anomalous result as an imperfect one, from the perspective of a Hermetic theorist; since no other Technique + Form combination permits a spell to be cancelled before its Duration is done, these MuCo spells are a glitch in the Universal Theory of Magic towards which at least some of House Bonisagus are striving. This glitch represents a flaw in the understanding of magic, and may derive from how the spells were first integrated by Mercere, or else a later innovation, probably by a member of his house (since they are similar to Mutantes magic).

There are two ways of dealing with the flaw -- try to generalise it for all spells, or try to remove it and bring MuCo in line with other magic. The latter option makes Hermetic magic less useful, so is probably the path least travelled. I imagine that there are some working on breakthroughs for the former case. If it proves ultimately not possible, then there is certainly a defect in Hermetic magic, and theory needs to be revised.

Just one magus's viewpoint.