Labwork discussions

Discussions regarding laboratory activities, such as inventing new spells, enchanting items, etc.

So if you have an idea for a new spell, for example, you should submit it here first for discussion so we can determine if it works in the saga. That way everyone can contribute and comment on the project, but can also gain a better sense of what I consider acceptable for the saga.

So if you have an idea for a new spell, submit it here first so we can hash it out, including any Experimentation rolls and results. Only post the final version of the spell on your magus' topic.

A-well-a everybody's heard about the bird (bird bird bird) from the initial thread, here's the spell for your discussion.
The initial idea of the spell was to replicate a CrAn base 10 create a bird with a MuAn effect to take into account the fact that my character would have a lot of muto and no creo at creation. But then you know I had some ideas to turn a disadvantage (the need of an animal item on which I could cast the spell) into an advantage.

R:Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual
Changes an item made of animal material into a crow for the duration of the spell. Note that once created, the bird is not naturally friendly with the caster, and instantly reacts according to its own motivations.
(base level 5, +1 touch, +2 sun, +0 individual)
Guideline MuAn 5 Change something made of animal products in a major unnatural way

Comment on usage : This spell designed to work in conjonction with a spell like Commanding the Harnessed Beast (ReAn 30) to make the bird act as the caster wishes.

I intend to use a general property muto spells to my advantage : When the spell duration expires, the bird will change back into the animal material used. This property can be used to deliver message written on parchment (assuming animal based pigment) hence the name. If the message is to be delivered far away this will of course require an additional spell to give the bird direction.
There is other applications to make a leather armor fly away from it's wearer, to transport meat, wool or other animal products.

Below is Arthur answer

I understand Arthur's point of view that a spell designed to do a single thing very efficiently is easier to balance.
The spell has a lot of potential consequences on the covenant economy, in combat, and as a political tool for long distance communication.

Sadly that's not how I like my spells : I like to stack small modular spells in a creative way for additional effects but as I'm not a complete jerk and I try to be honest with my intent (see above).
That's I prefer to cast as spell to create the bird, a spell to command it and a spell to give it direction rather than one big spell.

I believe that's also what an apprentice would do, they have small lab total so they achieve sloppy result by combining spells they can create with spell available at the library at their covenant rather than design an elegant spell (as the one Arthur proposes that I'll probably make later). That's something masters do.

Solutions ?
I believe there's different ways around this problem :

  1. We can decide that the difficulty isn't the "entry ticket" but the third spell. Transport to long distance (what long means is to be clarified) will require a high level spell to guide the bird this way I can have my "signature spell" to toy around searching for approaching troops but I can't deliver a message to Duremar at creation.
    here's an exemple but the difficulty seems quite high I'm better of with Arthur's proposal.
    Mu(In)An 40
    You give the bird a magical sense that allows it to know the direction of the target of an arcane connection that it holds.
    (base level 25, +1 touch, +2 sun, +0 individual)
    Guideline is MuAn 25 "Give an animal magical ability such as the ability to breath fire" (requires a requisite for the ability)
    There's a similar power in RoP:Magic p 57 Nose of the bloodhound

  2. We can reduce the scope of the spell by limiting the initial material It could for example work only on skin/leather/parchment and not on wool, silk, meat.

  3. We could decide that in the process of changing back, the parchment is altered and an additional magnitude for complexity is required for the message to be readable.

Just in case, here's drafts for several minor Virtues I'd expect to create during original research. Let me know if I should change any of them. Obviously it's a really long-term goal, especially if I want to incorporate it fully into the Hermetic Theory.

Late Metamagic
Possessing this Virtue gives access to late metamagic that targets magical effects that have already been cast, and change them for a specified duration. Unlike regular (errata'd) MuVi, the changes disappear when the metamagic spell expires. Spells must be specified as using late metamagic in design phase, and can't alter spells permanently like usual (per errata) MuVi spells.

Rival Metamagic
Allows use of MuVi spells on magical effects of other hedge traditions. The designer and caster of such metamagic spell must have at least surface knowledge of the tradition's magic, and its magic theory if applicable. The creator must specify one of the tradition's Arts or Abilities, much like he would Hermetic Forms.

Gerard, what you are trying to achieve doesn't look to me like it should require virtues. It would be more appropriate to look at them as new Muto Vim guidelines.

As guidelines, Rival Metamagic would be a straightforward Minor Breakthrough. Late Metamagic would probably be a bit harder, but still in the Minor Breakthrough category.

Thank you, I'm not the best judge of how difficult some things are to invent. Either way, this and probably some other things related to MuVi (like being unable to affect a new spell from a device) would be the endeavours my lab rat-y character would embark on.

I understand the desire for a "toolbox" of spells that can work together for a variety of uses. On the other hand, I have to make sure that doesn't upset game balance too much. IMHO, the combination of two level 10 spells shouldn't be able to provide as much power as a level 20 spell.

In general, spells of the same TeFo will not stack when their effect are similar. Creating a mundane animal with CrAn and then using MuAn to give it a magical sense is acceptable. Transforming an object into an animal and then transforming the animal to give it a magical sense is something I find less palatable

The guidelines don't work like that. Usually, the benefit of adding such a restriction is to take advantage of a Magical Focus. In your case, since you are already getting that advantage by transforming the object to a crow, this would be provide no additional benefit.

Not the way to go either, IMO. If the crow is wounded or otherwise damaged, then the original object would reflect that damage after transforming back. But otherwise, I don't see any reason why a message would be treated any different than a glove. Muto doesn't by itself result in permanent change.

Personally, I like stacking spells this way because it can make a lot more sense for multiple reasons. First, for example, you might want to be able to control real birds, and you could use that same spell on your created birds. Second, it keeps spells more specific, which seems to be fitting; otherwise you get crazy combos with complex requisite stuff and having to figure out which Art is actually dominant and how many magnitudes to add. Third, we already accept this regularly, such as not needing a single spell to do the combination of Eyes of the Cat and the Wizard's Sidestep. But I think you're in agreement here based on your comment of MuAn to add a sense to a CrAn created animal.

Meanwhile, I don't think that levels are a problem. The combined spell would typically be 1 magnitude higher than the higher of the individual spells, so the comparison is typically that you have something like a level 15 plus a level 20 to accomplish a level 25 combo.

I'm not disagreeing with your comment about the stacked transformation stuff, though.

This sounds like it matches so many statements in the rules. I can barely imagine doing it a different way, let alone accepting a different way. I had had some trouble even processing the original statement from Bitter because I could barely imagine it that little.

You are correct that I agree. I like the flexibility of combining individual spells to produce more complex results. There are disadvantages and costs to that however, notably time and efficiency. And it can only be taken so far.

For example, one cannot take a level 20 spell and divide it into 2 level 15 spells, then take each of those and divide these into level 10 spells, until one is left with only 1st magnitude spells that can be combines in hundred of different ways. A Base effect cannot be subdivided and effects of the same nature cannot stack.

Furthermore, guidelines are exactly that: guidelines.

I see, then that's why you suggested to transform directly the letter/packet into a bird with special ability to sense the direction and change back.

So the spell proposal you find acceptable would be something like that ? There's no requisite needed?

MuAn 30
R:Touch, D: Sun, T: Individual
Changes an item made of animal material into a crow with the ability to sense the direction and the distance of an AC it has swallowed for the duration of the spell. The spell ends prematurely if the bird makes contact with its target of the AC it has swallowed. Note that once created, the bird is not naturally friendly with the caster, and has it's own motivation. A second spell (ReAn) has to be used to give the bird the urge to reach the target AC.
(base level 5, +1 touch, +2 sun, +0 individual +2 complexity)

I'm glad we're having this conversation on stacking Muto effect before I'm done with my character !

What kind of Mu stacking do you find acceptable, say I want to stack Eye of the cat, Disguise of new visage and gift of bear's fortitude is that acceptable ? My guess is yes but stacking Eyes of the cat and The eye of the sage isn't because I'm modifying vision twice ?

On the subject of transporting message : Say I take bird created by a CrAn spell or a normal non magical bird Can I stack 2 MuAn spell on him : One to give him direction towards an AC and a spell to allow him to have a pouch kind of like kangourous to hold the message ? (that design isn't as elegant as yours but it's just to see what stacks I think I'll take your design)

There is no need for a ReAn spell to direct the bird. The spell's purpose is for the object to fly to the target under the form of a bird. I think I would add an Intellego requisite because of the magical sense, but that is all. This would replace the +2 complexity with a +1 Intellego requisite, +1 special duration (Sun or until it reaches its goal).

The bird also wouldn't need an AC if it can see the target when the spell is cast. A bit like Seven-League Stride.

No problem for Gift of the Bear's Fortitude with the other two. Eyes of the Cat and Disguise of the New Visage can interfere with each other, as both affect the target's physical appearance. You cannot use the Disguise to transform the cat's eyes into normal eyes without loosing the ability to see in the dark. In this way, they cannot stack.

Yes, that could work. One is a magical sense (affecting the mind of the animal) while the second one modifies its body to give it a minor ability (carry something without the risk of dropping it). The bird's "carrying capacity" would not be increased, however.

1 Like

As for how far a message sent via this spell could travel, crows have flight speed of 30 to 70 mph. I would give them a long-distance speed of 50 mph (80 kph). So if you send the message right after dawn on the summer solstice, it would have a range of about 800 miles (1,300 km). At the winter solstice, that ould be only half of that.

If the spell ends before the crow can reach its goal, the message will fall to the ground. The crow could also be killed on the way. So the spell isn't 100% reliable, but probably close to 99%.

  1. If I turn someone into an animal, say with curse of circe, I can use animalem spell on them that target the body but not the mind, right ?
    So cripple the Howling wolf would work but opening the tome on the animal mind won't ?
    I think I read it somewhere but can't find the reference.
    Then If I change a person't mind to that of an animal with mind of the beast can I use InAn Spells to probe their memory or (since they're human memories I would need InMe) ? Or ReAn spells to control them ?

  2. Also, when things are changed with muto, say I change a blade into sand, Is the blade ruined/ damaged unless every gain of sand makes a continuous pile of sand ? Do the grains "attract" each other magically when the spell is over ?
    Does It need a perdo requisite if because It ends up destroying the blade ?
    Same question with indirect damage, If I change part of a pillar into clay and the building collapses I would think there is no need for perdo requisite this time.

  3. Last, does Items forming the accouterments of person form a group for target purposes?

  1. Yes. Yes. Not accurately (an animal mind cannot contain human memories without distorting them). Yes.
  2. Yes, unless special precautions are taken (blade lying flat when transformed, no breeze to disturb the sand, etc.) No. No. Correct.
  3. Yes, provided you have all the requisites needed to cover all of it (Animal for leather, Herbam for linen, Terram for iron, etc.)

I think I'm misunderstanding either the question or the answer. Bitter, you're asking that if a magus wearing pants, shirt, boots, and a ring wants to do Leap of Homecoming or Shape of the Woodland Prowler and take those with them, do they have to use a T: Group spell instead of the normal spell? And, Arthur, you're saying that is correct?

This sounds off, but I may be misunderstanding. The rules talk about bringing your stuff with you with Leap of Homecoming itself (and related spells) and transforming your items similarly. Requisites are definitely required for the latter, and the former depends on the interpretation of the spell. We also have an example spell showing that significant accoutrements (large things carried, not just worn) may require +1 magnitude, but not Group.

My understanding of the question was that, if targeting the acoutrement of someone, a T:Group would work. For example, a spell that would transform his arms, armor, weapons and clothing into a flock of birds. The pefson is left naked, but was never targeted by the spell.

Leap of Homecoming and other T:Ind spell can also affect the target's clothing and equipment if the appropriate casting requisites are added. The target is still an individual, his accoutrement is just an add-on and does not require T:Group.

It is only when the accoutrement is targeted seperatedly from the individual wearing it that T:Group is required. If you use T:Ind in that case, you are targeting just 1 piece of clothing, or 1 weapon.

What Arthur says.

OK. I get it now. I definitely misunderstood. Thanks.

No problem, understanding is a three-edged sword. :wink:

I decided to leave the VERBA VOLANT for development during the saga. Right now I don't have any spell using my focus (and I'm not interested in CLOAK OF BLACK FEATHERS right now) so i'm looking for a "signature spell" to begin with.

I'm considering the spell you guessed :brain:

Huldra's thieves
MuAn(He,Te) 20
This spell changes each arm, armor, weapon and piece of clothing that an individual is wearing into a magpie. Each magpie is flying away from their previous owner in a random direction for the duration of the round (6s). Casting requisites are necessary for the metal of the blades, the wood of the halt, the linen etc...
(base 3 +1 touch +0 mom +2 group +2 requisites)

Lvl 5 would be too low even though I think He and Te qualify as free requisite as they are necessary for the spell to work. I'm considering either adding +1 magnitude for each requisite (as above) or to add +2 magnitude to affect metal even thought that's normally a MuTe thing.

Any preference ?

(I'm not sure If I want it +2 voice of +1Touch to use it with Evil Eye at +3 sight range but that's another issue. That's just to let you know I realize this would be a bad idea to way until I'm touching)

This and evil eye would be my only "custom" spells at creation.

[edit group is +2]

I think your guidelines and adjustments are a little off. You're transforming all these solids, some of which may be made of Animal or Herbam parts. Meanwhile, you generally use the higher guideline anyway. MuTe is base 5 to change dirt into an animal, and then there is the issue of metal weapons and armor. Now, there shouldn't be that +2 for requisites, as these are really casting requisites, which balances the +2 for metal. Meanwhile, Group is +2, not +1.