Magical firewood silliness

I was struck by how much income a person could make if they found a way to undercut the suppliers of wood to the cities that were growing vast at this time. Certainly it would have to be handled with some care to not simply magic wood on the street to be sold, however I can see how a covenant could found and maintain a income resource that would last for many generations, by simply applying a few small magic spells or even items.

A easy enough level 10 Cr/He spell would create 10 cubic paces of wood. This wood would last for a moon duration so there would be no problem with it suddenly disappearing, especially in massive cities where tons of wood was burned every day. I went with this spell:


Conjuring the Mightiest of Oak Boles Cr/He lvl 10

base 1 (it is simply a tree trunk 10 paces long 1 pace thick) R: Touch D: Moon T: Ind (+1 size)

The spell was developed to provide a steady source of winter fuel for a covenant in a wood poor region. This is the second attempt of Garrett ex Bonisagus to create wood by magic. His first spell created long, blemish free oak boles. Problems arose when covenant carpenters, ignorant of the spell's limits, attempted to use these logs in production, only to have a covenant wall crumble after the new moon. Garret then developed this spell creating a bole of oak twisted, knobbed, and useless for construction.


I figure there are a number of methods to making a enchanted item that a servant could then use to make a endless supply of such trunks of wood. Depending on the greed of the covenant, one could have a item with a endless number of uses for what I can tell is two pawns of vis and a season of work. Do it with enough cunning and probably using a Agent and you could become a dominant source of wood for London, Rome, Paris, Constantinople, ect.

Granted it would lead to charges at Tribunal but that's what you get for being greedy. I would suggest you stay small, meager, and grow it slow enough to to shock the region. Could even simply provide ships which bring the wood in daily, taking care to not let people follow you. Needless to say, for a very low level spell, a season and a couple pawns of vis, one can provide a substantial income source.

This has probably been done and thought of before... I just was reading about how much wood Rome used during the height of it's power and thought, WOWZER!

The problem comes when the buyers stockpile such wood and it disappears.

Which is why I think that items like these are a great way to reduce expenditures for a covenant, but cannot be used to generate income by selling to mundanes. My magus plans on enchanting a barrel to create oil for lighting the covenant, for example. It's a simple CrAq(He) 10 effect.

However if you use a Agent as the seller, then the Agent would be the merchant selling to individuals. For the most part individuals would use the wood within two weeks at least. I would not imagine selling it to those who resell it and from what I read castles, inns, and monasteries went through wood quickly enough that the chance of a large enough portion of wood to disappear after a full and new moon amount of time, would be rare and explained away if it did occur.

I think the hairiest part would be the competition of other wood providers.

We are building our covenant IMS and I am def throwing in your oil barrel to the build points! Hah thanks

It only takes a single piece of firewood disappearing from a mundane's hand for accusations of witchcraft to begin appearing. And if the agent gets in trouble, he might lead his accusers back to the covenant. Things can go downhill quickly.

Makes for good story potential, but does the covenant want the attention this might eventually bring? (Think nobility, Church and Quaesitor.)

I would think it would take a lot more than one piece of wood to disappear for there to be any problems. First think of how impossibly rare the event would be that someone would be holding a single piece of wood, that survived the wood pile for a month ((having worked a wood-burning pizza place and having fireplaces half my life, you always burn older wood first, you always rotate the piles, and as for the pizza place they got wood once a week.))

Now even if with some bit of fate, the wood made it through a entire cycle of moons, and was somehow the piece in the hand of the person at the single moment they were shoving into the fire, I just am not certain their response would be to think it magical witchcraft made firewood.

If anything, I think they would imagine far more personal reasons for the disappearance. They would think a fairy did it. A spirit did it. A ghost maybe. At the very worst they would go Infernal. But this would only become a story to be told by the person. And even if it happened a dozen times in one month, to a handful of people and they started to complain about supernatural cause to the Church, I just don't see it leading to the wood itself.

If at the very worst someone traces it back to the wood, the Agent who is not magical in anyway at all, could simply lie and claim he pilfered the wood from a fairy glen or something.

I am thinking the only way this carefully laid plan becomes a issue, is if the players say they want it to be a story item. Then of course it becomes a fun adventure of covering their assets using the many means and methods of magi.

Been there, done that, hated the beta SG for bringing those same problems back to haunt us, with crazy social leader priest et al. It was quite a mess at the time.

Now we deal in ice. It melts naturally so will not last enough for us to get into problems. And there is always demand for ice supply as well. And well, we reinvest our gains in arable land and other stuff like that, so in the end it is easy to build up your resources from an apparently easy access to something that is rare. providing wine for a party ONLY (and you get away with the leftover wine and only get paid for what has been spent during that night) is also a good income source.


Although thinking more on what you wrote and the idea of getting caught, I will certainly agree that if the covenant got lazy or greedy then it would be a storyteller's obligation to make it a story.

If they tried to grow rich selling the wood everywhere, or they tried to make a bunch of items and have teams and teams of wood makers everywhere, or even if they simply spent decades not bothering to maintain the Agent or the wood source ect. then I would be the first to say we definitely need a story to correct such a mistake. There are a lot of issues that could lead to problems, and I can see your point of how easily it could become a danger, but then again, there are always reasons why covenants do such things.

Our covenant currently is in the Theban tribunal and maintains a resource smuggling and pirating. Now THAT can get crazy real fast, but it is the kind of stuff we want in the game. I think the wood resource would only be something fun IF AND WHEN players decide that it was time to have a story with the resource.

My point is that, eventually, any magically-supported source of income may/will/should (pick one!) cause stories at some point. Whether such stories have a big impact on the saga is up to the troupe and storyguide. But be aware that any magically created resource has its own problems.

Such is the nature of things. :wink:

Oh yeah. That was Jordi (yeah, you know it was you, you luker!) just kicking us in the chin with a bruce lee kick for being lazy and not allowing him to use his (wood merchant and local guy in-the-know) companion. It was fun. He could have sent the witch burners to us for whatever reason, but the story was well grounded in our lack of urban adventures in the last 5 game years or so. :slight_smile:

Any resource can have problems, true. But only if it is fun to solve them, either through a story or in the lab.


Ridiculously brilliant... nice

Completely agree... such is the nature of Ars, getting something for nothing will eventually lead to you repaying in other ways. :laughing:

Actually, I'd just make a cubic pace at a time, snipping off a magnitude and bringing the Level down to 5. In this way, in a good magic Aura, possibly with exaggerated gestures and a booming voice and/or help from a talisman, a magus with a fair CrHe total can actually cast it spontaneously without fatigue -- no need to spend a season to invent it. A cubic pace of wood is half a ton to a ton, and a few castings can really get a lot of stuff.

I had a similar idea recently as well, but mostly for the convenience of travelling turbists. A small wand that produces a cubic pace of chopped up firewood with Sun duration (which is enough to provide a camp fire for the night). As a level 5 effect, it's easy enough to enchant several of these using a lab text.