New spell project: Rise the Library from the Ashes


With other players in our saga, we visited Calebais, and our characters were disgusted when we reached the library and saw the devastation Pitsdim made there.
Yet, Ars Magica is a game about magic. I guess than a spell (high level ritual) could fix that.
HoH: TL gives some guidelines about how to create a book. But i face some difficulties designing a spell able to rebuild a full library from ashes.

What would be your suggestions?
It would probably be some Creo Animal, with Intellego and eventually Herbam and Terram requisites. Base would be 5, range touch (+1), Group (+2), Intricacy (+5, according to guideline p102 of HoH: TL), Requisited (+1), and Size x 2 (+2, up to 100 books), for a total of 60. Quite a difficult to create ritual and expensive to cast, but with potentially awaesome benefit.

What's your opinion?

I do beleive there is precedence for a Heal book (CrAn) spell on Covenants and Intellego ignem Magic can determine what some ashes used to be. So it seems entirely conceivable that you could make a ritual to "heal" the library back to its previous state.

I would say that recreating even a single book from its ashes is near-impossible. I don't think you can create, or re-create, knowledge... Would you even need the ashes? (After all, what exactly are they an arcane connection to?) Why not just conjure a new book from thin air?

Note also that if you allow this, then you open the door to magical book or library copying, which is surely easier than copying a book from essentially nothing. If a Ritual spell to clone a Hermetic library existed, it would be a fantastically useful and valuable thing!

I would not allow any of these things in my saga, but whatever works for you! :slight_smile:

Thinking on it, the only way I see it happening is by getting the mystery of Divination, and then researching a hermetic breakthrough to use divination in spellcasting. If you pulled it off, you could "divine" the contents of each book.

Naw. "Once a Part, Always a Part". If you have any remaining portion of the destroyed book, a Creo Ritual should be able to restore it. Simple.

Page 97 of Covenants would seem to disagree. See "The First Furrow Guides the Second", which talks about books missing pages, but can be made complete with a page copied from one of it's sisters from another library. It would seem that the Book can be made whole with magic, but the information stored in it is a different matter.

Exploring the ruins of Rethra our troupe dicovered a large library filled with decaying tomes. We ruled that Cr-magic is able to redress these tomes in a fashion that the pages can be turned without the risk of breaking or turning to dust. However, any ink that flaked off in the past will not be made visable as information is lost. Teared pages will regrow but the part regrown is blank.
The ritual to restore the books is:

Repairing the Tome
CrAn 35 (BL: 5 + 2Mag. due to processed product, R: Touch+1 D: Mom, T: increased Group+3, Ritual)
This Spell reverts a Tome to readable parchment. The finesse-roll indicates the Quality of it (3: Shoddy=Quality-1, 6: Standart, 12: Superior Quality. Where pieces of the parchment were ripped of, blank one is made. Wherever ink was missing in the damaged original, so does it after the mending. No knowledge whatsoever that was lost is recreated, although there is enough space to rewrite it…

As this is very expensive, we also made an item to temporarely restore the book to see whether they are worth 7 pawns of vis
Screening the tome (device)
This device enables someone to read books to either confirming they are worth 7 pawns of vis or they are not but should be copied.
CrAn 45 (BL: 5 + 2Magn.due to processed product, R: Touch+1 D: Sun+2, T: increased Group+3)
Penetration: 0 (+0), 24 uses/d (+5)
Lesser enchanted item: An iron Container (+5 preserve/create things within) which has a magnetite brim (animal+3, eventually + Philosophy). Usable for 7 Years. (Excess x 5)
End level: 50


I would gree with you if the "pages"/ashes were missing, but my understanding was that all the ashes were still present, if they werent i guess you use the parts [ashes] of the book you do have to summon them back from wherever they went off to. Once you have all the remains you should be to reconstitute the book. Essentially bringing it back from the dead ('cause books doen't usually have souls). If you look at the Creo guidelines and the Limits there are no theoretical underpinnings that would prevent you from doing this, the only question is if you think it will ruin your game and if an existing spell guideline is appropriate. If the later is no, then you can make them work for it and research some minor modification to hermetic theory for the guideline they need.

Yes, that will get you the pages and ink back, but not put the ink on the pages in the correct order. Canon seems pretty clear that magic can't see the future, and can only see the past using the mystery of Divination. The loss of information is a problem for the order in canon, which would not seem to follow if your postulate was correct. See also how the rules work on broken magic items. You can repair the item to wholeness, but that won't make the magic return (unless you use the house mystery to repair magic items!). Also, given that Creo is used to make things "more perfect", what guidelines do you plan to use when I want to use a Creo ritual to raise the stats (level taught, amount taught) of my magic theory book? This is not, I think, a wise road to go down......

This is another case where i have to state "-magic isnt intelligent", if the information in the pages can no longer be seen or known somehow, it doesnt matter how much of the ashes or anything else is turned back into books, they will still not hold any knowledge, text or pictures, because that was destroyed when they were burned.

Quasi-true. Creo seems to have access to the Platonic realm of Ideals. So Creo will make a "more perfect" chair, but if you want to make a particular chair, there will be a finesse roll involved. When it comes to piles of dust that used to be books, and you want to recreate this books you have never read, well, I wouldn't allow that roll.

"Canon seems pretty clear that magic can't see the future, and can only see the past using the mystery of Divination."

This seems to imply that Creo needs access to 'information' in order to restore something to a previous state. I disagree. If the previous state was a 'more perfect' version of the item (or person) then Creo can handle it. If not, then a grog that lost a hunk of flesh in a fight couldn't get healed by Creo.

The point others have made about the information on the page being lost, wouldn't a 'perfect' version of the object contain the information? As a spelle effect made the object closer it's 'perfect' state (the purview of Creo) wouldn't it eventually reach a state where the information was discernible again?

I'm not sure where I sit on the "perfect" idea put forth by the Magic book. While I can see a perfect murderer or a perfect jerk, I'm not sure that they're more perfect humans. Which is the thing that we're trying to perfect: humans or jerky humans? I can go either way on that I guess.

As far as using that set of arguments for this situation, I'd say Creo'ing the burned book makes it a more perfect burned book. Otherwise, we find ourselves in the position to say that the perfect Creo book is Level 45 (or higher) Quality 25 (or higher), even though the original is only L5Q2. If you can Creo a burned book into usability why not Creo a usable book into... more usability? Saying the information is lost once it's been burned seems a weak argument to me, even if it is cannon.

Then again, the Corpus/Metem rituals that raise character stats could be a model here where you boost a book's stats using some ritual. Possible?

Rambling Rich

The status of being a Jerk or a certain Level & Quality & whatnot, these are Accidents and are not intrinsic to Essential Nature. Being burned is a detriment. If I were to "perfect" someone to make them a better human, I would be improving those traits that all humans have and which make them better at doing what humans do. Not all humans are jerks, nor are all humans nice. Those don't count. Intelligence does count, but the specific knowledge in your education does not (thus, you can raise your Int stat but not any abilities with ritual Creo magic).

And in canon, if memory serves, you can't use creo to fix a missing chuck of a grog. Really, look at how creocorpus needs the removed limb.

No, it doesn't need the removed limb. Just that specific spell does, and it even discounts a magnitude for it. The guideline is "restore a lost limb", not reattach a lost limb. Otherwise, why not set the base magnitude lower and not mention that it is discounted?

I mean, do it however you want in your game. YVMV is a sacrosancy principle in Ars Magica. Me, after reading the arguments here, it is something I would totally allow in my game. Then again, I also allow you to read foreign languages using Intellego magic :wink:

" I'd say Creo'ing the burned book makes it a more perfect burned book. "

"And in canon, if memory serves, you can't use creo to fix a missing chuck of a grog. Really, look at how creocorpus needs the removed limb."

Then how does healing work then exactly? I imagine that CrCo can restore a lost limb (at least that's what the CrCo guidelines indicate). The alternative would imply that CrCo can heal wounds, as long as you haven't lost any flesh. Thus if I perdo-remove a piece of hear, CrCo would be incapable of healing it.

I thought of another question though, can CrMe utilized to 'heal' the effects of PeMe magic 'restore' a Perdo'ed memory?

Don't have my book at work but I definately remember an example in the Magic book describing someone becoming a more perfect murderer (or something like that). Again, I'm not sure I buy it as a principle, but if magic can make somebody a more perfect murderer why not a more perfect jerk? You're right, these are accidents but the example is there. And if so, why not a more perfect Creo book?

I'm not sure what a book's Essential Nature entails. I've never understood the 'can't copy a book with magic arguments', except for play balance considerations of course. On the other hand, for internal logic considerations, I can see an argument that a "perfect" book would be the most perfect specimen of what was written, not could be written. Nevertheless, borrowing from the cannon stat boost rituals I'd allow book boosting rituals as well. Given the above, there's really no difference in my mind.

I would allow rituals to boost the Quality of a book, but not the Level. The pages can be crisper and cleaner, the ink more clear and less splotchy, the binding perfected, and so on. Up to the limits of what nature allows, so you can use a ritual to obtain Well Bound.