Item for moderation: Rod of Painful Weariness

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.