Magical minting

Apologies if this has been addressed on the forum before. I didn't find anything searching.

I have a Terram specialist who is considering counterfeiting coinage in order to pay for lab improvements. His first step will be inventing a ritual to produce a block of precious metal (probably silver, 65 pounds), like the Touch of Midas spell (ArM5, p. 153). The next step is inventing a spell to craft coins from that lump of metal. I know ReTe base 4 (HoH:S p. 61) can be used to craft items from metal. I assume he'll have coins available to duplicate. Beyond that, I'm not sure how this should work. So...

  1. I doubt the magus can reliably make the Finesse roll (EF 12?) to make identifiable coins. Would adding a magnitude for complexity be sufficient to eliminate the Finesse roll? Two magnitudes?

  2. What should the spell's Target be?

  • Individual option 1: The block of silver is the Individual and the entire block is crafted into coins with one casting of the spell.
  • Individual option 2: A single coin-sized portion of the block is the Individual, thus crafting one coin per casting.
  • Part: As Individual option 2, considering the coin-sized potion of the block as a Part.
  • Group option 1: Ten Individuals (coins) are crafted from the block of silver, leaving most of the block intact.
  • Group option 2: The entire block of silver is converted to coins, since a Group affects the mass of ten Individuals.
  • Group + size: As Group option 1, with size boosts to increase the quantity of Individuals (coins) crafted by the spell.

And before anyone says 'ask your SG', I'm the alpha SG, so I'm coming to all of you for neutral input. :slight_smile:

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Do look at the comments on created wealth in Mercere section of HoH:TL.


If you're referring to the Stonehenge ruling about magically created coinage, I'm aware of it and the possible repercussions of counterfeiting. I know this isn't a good or even smart thing to do. I'm just trying to determine how the spell would be designed.

The topic of Finesse rollss for Rego magic comes up a lot. Some people love the Finesse requirement because it prevents magical assembly lines and generally keeps Magi from creating better objects than mundane craftsmen. Personally I hate it, because it creates unnecessary randomness and complexity.

I think the difficulty of a spell - including fine manipulations as well as gross volumes of material - should be simulated by the spell's level, without requiring addons. If you want to continue using Finesse, having an additional magnitude of spell equal +3 Finesse seems to work. To remove the randomness, we allow Magi to substitute a "Take 5" option for the d10 roll. Two magnitudes should work for you if you need a 12 target number.

If there's little silver, but much vis, why not The Lab of Bonisagus from Covenants?
Is is the Terram Expert, not well versed in Vim/Creo?

What about creating other valuable items rather than silver coins?

This Terram specialist is 5 years out of Gauntlet, so LoB will be beyond his means for quite a while.

It's certainly an option, but it doesn't really change my fundamental question - given a source of a raw material, how does one design a spell to convert that raw material into crafted items? What I'm really trying to do here is gain a better understanding of craft magic. Sorry that wasn't clear in my OP.

I would base this on the art production using Rego magics in HoH:S, page 60. I think that might be helpful. Although it talks about art, I'm sure it's equally applicable to any finished product...

I think you need a complex spell here, perhaps even using both Mu and Re. I'm not sure Rego is needed though.

Minting the Banker's Joy
Muto Terram 25
Range: touch, dur: mom, tar: ind.
Base: 3, +1 for touch, +2 for complex final form, +3 for dirt to silver

The target metal block is transformed into many smaller coins, matching the design and size desired by the caster.
This spell does not change the base material (thus requires no Vis) and the end resulting coins are as natural as the block was to begin with. Thus is the block was temporary, so are these coins.

My rationale:

  • Muto to change the block into individual coins (like turning a cube into a sphere), where separating the block into small pieces is basic level, but doing it with a high degree of precision is a few mags higher. Say +1 mag for the precision in the size of the coin, and +1 for the fine detail needed on each coin.

  • I was not sure the base level and considered either level 2 or level 3. In the end I think it is a wholesale change of the target, thus warrants a 3.

  • the base material is not changing, so the complexity in the spell here is not a change in form (like clay to steel) but the shape.

  • Rego does not apply as you are changing the shape, not moving the block. Consider that Disguise of the Transformed Visage (Ars p131) is MuCo, not ReCo and that spell fully morphs the target's face.

  • Muto also allows that I can MuIm my image into almost anything passable with a basic spell, and it gets harder as I try to control the final outcome, or to copy the image of another.

  • Give a bonus to the casting roll, and in the spell design if the caster is holding a coin they wish to duplicate. Or mandate that the coin be present, and perhaps reduce a magnitude? The real trick is not allowing the spell, but the management of what it creates.

Covenants page 61 - "The Riches that are rightfully mine(d)" - CrTe 35 ritual to fill a large chest with up to ten cubic feet of silver pennies, equivalent to up to 2000 mythic pounds.
Base 15, +1 touch, +2 size, + 1 complexity.

This suggests +1 complexity is enough to break it up into recognisable coins, although the coins will bear the magi's sigil in some way.

I think the magus is better off doing the creation of the raw mats as one ritual spell and the splitting with another. That way the power and cost of the ritual is reduced because it does not need to worry about the additional complexity in creating coins or the markings. It might take an additional season, but the process can be repeated with lower vis cost.

Also I don't own covenants as yet, so didn't know the RAW had introduced that.

OPPS - I forgot to add the +mags for the substance being Silver rather than Dirt. Increases base affect by +3 mags?

Thanks Darkwing, I forgot that one. I'll just back-calculate from that and make a lower level spell. It's not like I need 2000 pounds. Yet. :slight_smile:

I wouldn't trust Covenants on this; I think the Rego/Creo craft rules in HoHS are later, and should supercede the earlier rules. They indicate the creation of silver coins should indeed require Finesse. I'd say that creating coins with a design reflecting the magus' sigil is easy enough to not require a Finesse roll, but forging (duplicating) a particular design is something different, and does require one. I'd set the base difficulty at 9, I think.

I agree with Jabir that these rules are in place to maintain the importance of mundane artisans. I think that's actually a good idea in general, but as the alpha SG this should be your decision. If this does not fit your saga, I agree that +1 magnitude per +3 in difficulty sounds like a good guideline, so I'd add +1 magnitude in this case (EF 6 is easy enough not to require a roll, if I remember correctly).



There's a lot on the "legality" of such (oy!), but on the spell itself...

Whether "magnitudes for complexity" can substitute for Finesse or other difficulty is a matter of SG/Troupe discussion/decision. But there are several canon examples in the Guidelines regarding the creating of such - under Creo Imagonem (for detail) and Creo Terram (for elaborate shapes).

However, I can see creating a simple coarse lump-o-silver to save on vis, and then Rego'ing it into shape as needed. The ReTe spell could be as above, very specific and so without Finesse (imo) - some currencies are more widely traded about and more recognized as acceptable than others beyond their homeland, and that one currency/one spell would then suffice across most of Europe.

I've always been of the philosophy* that Finesse is needed more for a variable spell, one that needs to be controlled/refined/directed (such as a spell that created unspecified "coins", with a pattern tbd), but if a mage were to invent a specific spell to duplicate a specific coin, a specific heads-and-tails pattern, that could be exact without (much?) need for Finesse - but then it could never be changed, or not very much. And yes, that spell might want additional magnitudes ala the CrIm guidelines.

(* It is largely a matter of personal preference)

This spell would create X, not "some type of X" (as so many spells are), and so the details are immutable in the spell as designed.

(The diff would be this: two magi create spells to cut building blocks of stone from a boulder. One spell allows the block to be cut as needed - different shape, different size - and that requires finesse. The other spell always creates the exact same size-shape block (boulder-size allowing), never changing in the least detail, and so not needing any finesse. That's how I envision it.)

Sorry, but that' s more 4th ed than 5th. In 4th ed, Muto was changes in shape, but in 5th Muto is unnatural changes, and there is nothing unnatural about minting a silver coin (unlike changing the shape of a face/skull).

Fabrication and crafting now fall under Rego in 5th ed., and that's what we have here.

Whatever you start with - an X-sized lump of silver becomes one "crafted item". To make it multiple (identical) items, that would be more complex.

If several lumps of silver were to be converted (such as one type of coin into another, or several smaller lumps), then T:Group would be needed.

If the mage wants to "break off" a lesser amount, then T:Part is needed. However, it should not be a great challenge to spont' a quick spell to cut off whatever is desired and then deal with that, and I can envision several PeTe effects that could fit the bill and be worthwhile as a multi-purpose utility spell. And at worst, silver is a soft metal and an axe would do the job just as well.

So - Target:Individual, with a level of complexity to achieve multiple identical products, and another for a specific design. If the mage wanted a "1 coin at a time" spell, they could ignore the former and save a magnitude (and never live it down imo). :laughing:

This makes a good deal of sense to me. After all, you're spending three months in the laboratory with samples of the specific coin by your side at all times....

Probably much more than three months, such a spell would be a custom developed spell, almost certainly, and it is unlikely that the character that inspired this has 71, 61 or even 51 CrTe lab total...

This rule would solve a lot of issues with Craft Magic. Having to spend a minimum of a season to learn a specific instance of reliable craft magic is enough of a check on Magi that they can't outperform mundane craftspeople. On the other hand, it helps eliminate the situation we have now where it's easier to create giant meteors than a decent pair of boots.

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I agree with Cuchulainshoud, gerg, and Jabir here.


Why that high?

If we assume (big "if") that the Troupe adopts the approach I suggested above, then we can end up with...

ReTe 15
The Minter's Run
Turns up to (1/10 cubic foot of precious metal) or 65.5 lbs of silver (or about twice that of gold) into an appropriate number of a coins*. The coin must be specified when the spell is invented, and cannot thereafter be changed. (Finesse could be used to change very minor details, such as the degree of wear of the coin, or perhaps a date or other such very minor detail.)
(Base 2**, +1 Touch, +2 metal, +1 fine detail, +1 complexity (one lump into many coins))

(** I see this as a "slightly unnatural change", since anyone with a stamp and a hammer could do the same, but metal would never do so on its own. Adjust if you feel differently.)
Even if one believes that such specificity requires another magnitude, the spell doesn't top Level 20.

(* Silver = 655 lbs/cubic foot, or 65.5 lbs/"individual" amount (very close to 30 kg). If we assume a monetary pound is a total of one pound of silver (only an assumption - debasement was common), then 1/10 pound would yield 15-16,000 if making pennies/denarii. (But if using AM prices, much is listed in terms of mythic pounds anyway, so a mage would have to cast this spell 10x to produce a "pound" worth of coinage for larger purchases.)

Only silver was used for trade coins in this era. The typical example was the small silver penny (pfennig) or denarius. There was also the pound, which was 20 schillings and a schilling, which was 12 pence. The 13th-century introduced a larger silver penny, known as a groat, which means 'big'. It was worth four of the smaller pennies.

Gold coins didn't show up until 1250 or so, with the florin (from Florence) and ducat (from Venice), but gold = 1206 lbs/cubic foot and both these classic trade coins weighed 1/8 oz., if you want to go there.) ... 15ch7.html


If you have lumps of bullion, casting the coins is easy, sure.

Even still, two seasons, one season to create the ritual spell that brings the bullion into existence, and then another season that mints said bullion.

Well, that's how the OP lined it out...