Muto magic


I have a question that I need of your thoughts on. If my magus turnes pices of stone that where recently a part of a mountain into water with muto magic. And then pour it into a mould, what would happed when the spell wore off. Will it turn back into pices of stone or would it form into a solid block of stone. The question is some what related to the essential nature of the stone and how it relates to muto magic. Muto magic can´t after all make some lasting changes without the use of raw vis.

Either result would give interesting opportunities for a crafty magus or maga (read Verditius magus). If the pices of stone turnes into a solid block then the spell could be used to create exelent quality building blocks for a covenants house building or for sale, thus increasing the covenants profits.

If the stone turnes back into its original shape a remains as pices of stone then they could be used in mining. Use perdo magic to create a long thin hole and pour some liquid stone into it. When the water turns back into stone the mountain whould crack. The effect would be the same a the traditional mining method of heating with fire and cooling fast so the stone cracks. With this incresed speed mining method the covenant would rapidly increase it profits, less cost for fuel and less risks.

Awaiting your thoughts


Here are a few thoughts from the last time that this came up.

We use this in our saga.

The covenant operates a small tin mine. We take the stone that is usually discard as waste and liquefy it and pour it into a wooden mould. The mould holds it until it turns back to stone at which point we have large blocks of solid stone. These are then used in the covenants building projects (currently a large stone curtain wall).

The answer is : whatever best serves the story. Ars Magica is story-driven, not rules driven.

If it makes a more interesting story for the rocks to somehow retain the essence of the mountain, then they should do so. Perhaps the form is that of the mould, but the spirit of the rock is still tied to the mountain from which it came? Part of your answer could lie in the skill of the magus performing the operation. Are the Terram and Aquam arts up to the task of transforming the rock in the manner you describe? Does the magus have any skill with moulds, stonework, or crafting? Was any vis used at all? Were the stones supernatural in some way?

It is up to the storyguide to come up with a creative and perhaps surprising response, not for the rules to decide. Different sagas could conceivably have wildly differing results to the work you describe.

It's true that Ars Magica is a story driven game. But some parts of it are very rule mechanical. Like the rules for income and welth. This question has some story implications, like what is the eccence of a rock. But the part if it could generate income gets more mechanical.

Thanks for the insight


I agree with the rules bit, but not the income relation.

It is almost trivial to generate arbitrary amounts of mundane income with magic anyhow: the trick lies in generating the income in a manner that doesn't violate the letter or the spirit of the code, doesn't take too much time from the magi, doesn't arouse suspicion, and last but not least, isn't sinful. I am under the impression that the sin issue is mostly an effort/profit imbalance: if a trinket does all the work, you should not make much profit. However, interestingly enough, profiting from the work of other people seems ok. ,-)

(Creating value in any form magically, be it rocks to build with, superior cloth, medical assistance, golem labor, or whatever, should IMO be subject to same restrictions as creating silver: even if precedent doesn't exist, a Quesitor will probably get interested eventually. Since you would not be flaunting the letter of the Peripheral Code the penalty would probably be nominal, though.)

Back to manually working things under the influence of Muto:

I would say that the end-result is as-if similar motions were gone though with the original material, since Muto effects are fundamentally unnatural and impermanent: so stone transformed to clay could be shaped, and would retain its new form, but gravel would not be fused. Maybe a rule of thumb "if Rego could do it, then doing it by hand to the transformed form is permanent"?

Transforming one-to-many would cause (on expiry) a random individual of the "many" to revert to the original "one", while the rest would disappear. If the "many" had been manually altered then I would transform the full set of alterations back to the original as analogously as possible. Transforming many-to-one would cause the original "many" to reappear on expiry, with manual transformations applied as analogously as feasible.

I think I would allow a Perdo requisite for permanentizing the one-to-many, and Creo for permanentizing the many-to-one, though, so MuTe(Cr, Aq) could turn gravel into water that fuses into a single block of stone when the spell expires.

I don't think I can provide proper justification (with reference to canonical rules) for any of the above, though...



The rules (Arm5, p. 78) say it is okay (mechanically, not ethically of course) to turn a man into a fish and watch him suffocate. These changes are not undone when the spell ends. :confused:

But doesn't this make Mu kind of really powerful?
It can be used instead of:
-creo: creating something out of thin air is muto - or out of water, dirt, whatever...
Attack spells: MuAu - air into poison gas (which existed in the Middle Ages - read books on mining), or air into heat (suffocate + grill) or terram into poison gas (as long as the magus concentrates, saves burial costs)

  • You can recreate many intellego effects by changing say the loudness of a voice, the sharpness of an eye, the size of a far-away scene, the intensity of a smell. Or: why not turn the rock you wan to talk to into sth that is better at conversing (talking rocks are not silly: they are the key to the past because they make good witnesses)?

  • you can recreate many Perdo effects by changing something into thin air (or poison gas for that matter) and the rest by changing sth into sth vulnerable (knight to flower instead of knight to nil) and hurting it non-magically or magically (burning/trampling/ripping apart the flower, feeding some of it to a nearby cow - which may or may not explode when the spell ends!!!).

  • rego spells that shape things are easily mimicked - you want a block of wood to become a statue - change it into water and put it in a mould or change it into an apple and then into a statue: the only problem is: it's not permanent.
    And why would anyone want to move an object from A to B if he can change the old object into water and create a new object out of thin air?

  • the main province of muto is there on top: taking new shapes (for spying, fighting, traveling...), and tricking others

Is this munchkinism or real potential? I'm asking because I think Muto magic can feel very magical when used spontaneously.

having played both muto and Perdo specialists I can tell you that Muto is powerful, but not overly so. The in game feel is that Muto has less hurt per score point potential the perdo does.

I would argue that the stone to water spell turns the stone to water, and while it is as water it acts as water would, so when poured into a mould it would take the form of the mould when the spell ends, the stone would reform as stone in it's new shape. For example if a spell turned a stone statue to sand, the stone statue would not move or alter unless some other force acted upon it. If the was no force then it would simply reform back into stone at spell end. If the wind blew the sand hither and fro, then where these changed specks of sand land, they would become stone again at the spells end.

Muto, may be powerful when used in clever ways, but muto has always struck me as quite 'tricksy' magic and such thought could be rewarded.

The spell guidelines for muto also make them higher then perdo.