magically driven forestry/husbandry

My group is currently playing in a Triamore campaign and we have decided to focus on the economical side of the problems with the count of Namur. This has had me thinking of various ways to increase the productivity of a manor like Triamore with magic.

Specifically I have thought about how to use magic to increase the output of the forest.

According to the CrHe guidelines in the core rulebook it is possible to bring a plant to full maturity in a single day or night at a base level of 15 (core rulebook page 136). I cannot see anything that would stand in the way of designing such a spell and use it to plant a whole bunch of trees, cut them down and do it again. In principle this should result in a fabulously productive timber business while circumventing many of the normal problems with timber cutting, namely that timber is for most practical purposes a non-renewable resource and that deforestation is bad for the magical environment, in that forests often contain ancient (magical) trees, vis sources and the like.

A spell to grow trees could even be put into an enchanted item to allow the income to be generated without the direct oversight of any magi.

I dont see any particular reason why it would be a ritual spell either as accelerated growth is not a ritual spell as it does not strictly speaking create something from nothing. I cannot see any reason for why the grown plant should be of a lower quality compared to a non-magically grown one.

What about using such magic to grow an entire orchard or other type of fruit/nut plantation?
Or to grow plants, perhaps over a longer timespan and forming them while they grow in order to more easily obtain pieces of wood grown into specific shapes?

The same principle could be applied to animal husbandry, but perhaps to a lesser degree as it would mostly serve to cut costs by not having to feed the animals while they grow, thus getting a large flock ready for slaughter or breeding quickly.

Am I missing something? Is it really possible to do this? I know that in the long term it would likely remain quite labour intensive to run a business based on rapid treegrowing as laborers are still needed to cut down the trees, process them into saleable timber and to clear them stumps to prepare the ground for new growth etc.

There is also the slight problem that in real life trees need to grow slowly and at least partially in adverse conditions to develop the resistance and hardness that makes for ideal timber, but perhaps the spell forces ideal growth in the sense of ideal for the plants health rather than ideal in the sense of extremely rapid. Also what is maturity like for a plant in mythic europe? In real life plants dont really have a defined state of maturity like animals do.

I am relatively new to Ars Magica and so would greatly appreciate some input on how to interpret the magic system in regards to the above.

It can work. Problems I se ifyou want to make a story out of it

  1. Maybe the tree still absorbs all the nutrients form the ground in its raid growth, so repeated PMA ration in the same spot might not be possible afte rs few trees.

  2. Someone sees you and rumors spread of the witches that make huge stakes grow and then use them in fornication. Yes, far from reality, but you know how bad reputation works.

  3. The trees become identical one to the other. Someone notices and asks questions.

  4. Removing stumps is extremely difficult. My parents just tried to remove the stump of a 30 year old tree and were told that they would be much better planting the replacement elsewhere.

  5. Related to 1, magical beings.might be annoyed at you for sapping the nutrients of their forest in the border of it.

  6. Some other timber ventures might get annoyed at the new competition and take measures.

  7. Transporting the timber to its market might be an issue.

If none of these interest your troupe, fly away and just do it. :slight_smile:

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I know that removing tree stumps is difficult, but people in the past did slash'n'burn agriculture which is basically burning and clearing of forest which must involve some clearing of stumps so I imagine that it can be done.

What about using magic to plant an orchard then there is no stump removal?
or using magic to make wood forming easier? A lot of medieval timber industry revolved around finding appropriately shaped pieces of wood and making such wood is a lot easier when you can have the plant grow rapidly and then form it by hand to force it to grow in a certain way.

I suggest looking at Magi of Hermes p.33+, Gwidion of Verditius. There is a published spell there that allows you to grow a tree from a seed or sapling into a full-grown tree that is D:Sun. There are also other spells that will help an agricultural or forestry based community.

If you use a lot of magic over time then there will be warping involved, but not if you raise an orchard overnight in one go.


A He mage can possibly use PeHe top accelerate the removal of the stumps, so that should not be too much of an issue.

Transport is a huge thing, so one would want to do this operation next to a river and just float the lashed-together-trunks in batches downriver to a customer. Transporting wood anything than by sea is such a nightmare that Notre Dame de Paris was built with Baltic oak because that was the most economical way. So using the Meuse to ferry your wood downriver, you could be supplying a lot of major towns.

Using a ReHe item to process the wood from raw trunks into planks would save huge amounts of time.

You can also grow the tree to whatever shape you need overnight, so if you need something making a big arc, you can just have your grogs bend the wood to the right shape and be able to utterly corner the market for bespoke weirdly shaped wood.

This might be a house rule for our game, but for us magically aged animals, people and plants are sterile. Meaning that they can be consumed quickly, but not breed a giant herd of cows in a month. Similarly, we can't just buy an apple, and spit out the pips into a productive orchard overnight.

Considering that wood is the primary heating source in winter, an item which generates sun duration logs would be fantastic for a covenant to live through winter...

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We're playing in a covenant very close to Triamore. I'd love to point to our covenant's wiki for suggestions, but sadly most of that subpage is in danish. I can provide a link if you think you can make use of it.

My design:

The big question is: Do you (as a troupe) want this to work?
If you (as a troupe) want complications, Xavi has suggestions, some better than others.
If you (as a troupe) want this to work, so that you can move on to the next part of the story, it should work!

One example of such a device can be found in Through the Aegis, though as I recall, it was designed with D: Moon, to make sale of firewood slightly more practical.

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Fortunately me and my group is danish so I would say that I am quite able to make use of a wiki-page written in danish and would greatly appreciate a link.


That houserule sounds quite reasonable, but I would also offer the following objection as to why getting e.g. cows to breed a massive herd in a month is not feasible: Cows are only in breeding season once a year, need substantial amounts of time to give birth (pregnancy) and even if you could use magic to force them to breed out of season they will probably not be fertile out of breeding season. For example plants forced to fruit out of season are not fertile according to the spell guidelines (serfs parma), presumably the same is true for animals magically forced to "fruit" out of season.

It occurs to me that I should also share the following bit of information. Because of the precarious political situation of Triamore, any magically assisted boost to productivity cannot be of a type that causes substantial numbers of laborers or peasants to lose their livelihood because that would give the nearby count an excuse to "step in" and "save" the poor peasants being robbed of their livelihood by the "evil wizards". For that reason it is a necessity that if we use magic to increase income it must be in a way that creates more jobs, so that there are vacant jobs ready for any peasant made obsolete by magical devices which replace peasant work.
So its okay to make items that grow trees and then have the limiting factor be the availability of labor to cut down and process said trees, because the labor can then come from peasants later made available by e.g. a magical plow that allows just a few people to plow all of the fields where previously the entire village labor force was necessary, because their labor can then be used in processing trees.

P.S: I am aware that the notion of a job is a modern concept that would be foreign to the medieval mind, I chose to use the word here to get the idea across.

I am also seriously considering making a duplicate of the woodshed of plenty from Through the Aegis.

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I can strongly recommend it!

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BTW, the enfeoffment of Bois de Haillot to Triamore exempt them from most duties and taxes except agricultural. So if you are going to sell agricultural products to improve the covenant's economic situation then it won't work because the Duke will just raise taxes even more.

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That is a very useful piece of information to remember. Thanks for saying that.

Would you consider timber to be an agricultural product? I don't think I would even if the trees were grown by magic. Especially not if the exports cover wood grown into special shapes requested by the customer.

Timber, as in logs or planks would qualify as agricultural, but formed wood would fall under craft or art. :slight_smile:

You will need to hire a lawyer (Civil & canon law 5+) to argue your case. This is just the first step in your tax optimisation strategy. The build magical bridges over the river (deducting it from other taxable income) and charge a toll for the bridge maintenance. Spice things up by robbing relics from crusaders in the baltic region and donating them top your local church to secure further tax exemptions.


Hiring a lawyer is often an excellent move for a covenant!

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I know we are moving into the realm more of magical industry as opposed to magical forestry/husbandry. I am also considering using magical items that mimic the effects of Rock of viscid clay in order to shape rock into various useful shapes, like bricks, tiles and what ever other shape might be desired, like one would with clay. If I am not mistaken then this is possible, as the rock does not reform into the shape it originally had once the spell wears off as I interpret it. Am I right?

How about using a variant of Rock of viscid clay with a group target to meld together smaller rocks for the same purposes as above?

Is it possible to make a magical brick kiln by having a magical items cast a CrIg spell with structure or room target and filling the room with unfired bricks/tiles/whatever? assuming the duration is long enough.

I hope you dont mind me broadening the topic of the thread a bit.

really good idea with the lawyer. It hadn't crossed my mind.

Oh, the lawyer thing didn't cross mine either at first, but it looks obvious once you have seen it. :slight_smile:

I can see no hermetic problems with what you are suggesting. hermetic magic and a modern mind will cause the industrial revolution in 1300 as we all know (if someone does not whipe ME form the face of the world first using the same rules).

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Also, if you use small pre-existing rocks rather than a small area of a big rock, you can move away from the "part" target for the spell and save yourself a magnitude.

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Lots of rocks lying around Lucien's Folly due to its damaged and unfinished nature

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one thing to keep in mind- selecting species of trees- first question is whether the spell's size needs to be able to affect the full grown tree or just the sapling or seed you initially cast it on. also it will make a tree come to maturity in the same amount of time regardless of how long that normally takes, which means this technique works better with slow growing hardwoods instead of pines or other fast growing trees.

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A few small thougths: When my group explored the magically-aided agriculture, we settled on the 'soil nutrient' argument - we could make things faster and easier, but over-use would damage the soil's long term productivity.
Another point, if the Covenant was not careful, they could very easily have inflation issues and the ruling of how much magic could be used to create wealth. While magically creating timber is a bit more subtle and slow than magically creating a pile of silver coins, it's effectively the same thign and runs into the same tribunal issues and definitely will have inflation issues as the price of good timber might drop.

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