Non-fatiguing spontaneous magic for the thrifty covenant

As discussed in a recent thread, magic can significantly contribute to keeping a covenant's expenditures low (often a better idea than keeping the income high, because then you avoid the corrosive effects of inflation).

Now, Covenants states that "As a very simple rule of thumb, each magnitude of effect in [a work-saving enchanted device] can save one pound per year". Of course, immediately before that we find a more "precise" estimate of the potential savings for a specific device (a magical plough). So, in general, if one feels like doing the work of figuring out the actual savings, that should supercede the 1 pound/magnitude "rule of thumb".

Also, at the end of the same section, we read that "At the storyguide’s discretion, non-ritual Rego craft spells, if cast repeatedly over an extended period, may save money as per magic items." I would also assume that, by the same token, spells of other Techniques would also work -- I mean, creating wood or oil with D:Sun would be perfectly ok if the purpose was to burn them before the next sunrise/sunset. Of course, if these have to be cast repeatedly over the course of a season, with a handful of exceptions they either have to be invented as formulaics (which costs time), or to be cast as non-fatiguing magic.

This thread is about such non-fatiguing magic, ideally of the first magnitude or less (for which you need a casting score of 25, easily achievable even by a young magus with a little study). In general, D:Conc should be sufficient, as learning a single D:Sun/Moon formulaic version of Maintain the Demanding spell would allow all such magics to be sustained much longer. In addition to the spell, you should ideally provide a rough formula for the cost savings, based on the number of castings, size of the covenant, and lifestyle (beeswax candles are really expensive, so crafting them magically saves a lot of money compared to "real" candles, but not nearly as much if they substitude for the reeds a destitude covenant would employ).

I'll edit this post linking here every spell coming with a) the full level calculation (Base effect, RDT, etc.)
and b) some guess of the savings it can offer under different circumstances. So far we have:
The Gift of Athena, CrAq(He) 5, R:Touch, D:Sun, T:Ind, fills a barrel with olive oil
Ward against maggots, CrAn 5, R:Touch, D:Ring, T:Circle, preserves Animal foodstuff within
The Flaming Circle, CrIg 15, R:Touch, D:Ring, T:Ind, creates an enternally burning flame
The Invisible Groom, ReCo 4, R:Touch, D:Mom, T:Circle, cleans and grooms everyone in the circle

2 Likes

A classic:

The Gift of Athena, CrAq(He) 5, R:Touch, D:Sun, T:Ind
Fills a large barrel with pure olive oil, that lasts until the next sunrise/sunset. Can be used for illumination, heating, hygiene, and cooking (it provides no nourishment, but it's great for frying). A variant with D:Moon requires less frequent attention by a magus but is second magnitude. A variant with D:Conc (to be combined with Maintain the Demanding Spell) would be only level 4.
Base 2 (Fill a container with a natural liquid (with appropriate requisites)), +1 Touch, +2 Sun

How much is this worth in savings? Hmm. First of all, it's a lot of fuel. If cast twice a day, it can probably suffice for a smallish covenant; half-a-dozen castings are probably sufficient for all but the largest covenants. But... how much? I'd eyeball it at maybe ... 1-10% of the provisions costs, with the higher range for covenants in cold climates. Let's be conservative and say 1 pound/year per 100 points of inhabitants, up to double that for covenants exposed to significant cold weather (windy mountaintops, the far north etc.). This automatically includes the fact that people living more luxuriously (i.e. costing more points of inhabitants) keep themselves better warmed etc. Obviously, this is not cumulative, or only partially cumulative, with other magics that create substances with similar purposes, e.g. wooden logs.

2 Likes

keep in mind as well that rego craft magic has its own guidelines based on finesse, but you can directly translate finesse to an ability score and length of time crafting per casting- up to the savings limit for the covenant (unless you are trying to stat a business...)
it can also be a good source of training for apprentices while doing something practical.

1 Like

The idea is to try to gauge the savings "correctly" rather than relying on the inevitably very rough approximations provided by Craft Score/2 +1 pounts, magnitude pounds etc. That was what I tried to do with the oil barrel spell.

Good point about apprentices, even though even first magnitude (non-fatiguing) magic will be pushing the envelope for many of them! Then again, strong auras, ceremonial casting, a focus etc. can all contribute.

The point is that with an enchanted "woodcarvers knife" with a ReHe enchantment to craft wooden objects can fulfill a carpenter's role in terms of both buildings and provisions up to the natural limit with a single season of "finesse exposure" practice (or if your SG/troupe is more generous finesse self study at 4xp), which is 50% of buildings and 20% of consumables, or .09 pounds per point of inhabitants.
As for the "eyeballing" the oil, if you want to be truly realistic it would depend on what all it was actually being used for- without lamps it won't replace candles, but assuming the covenant was well optimized for it, it needs to be cast at least 730 times a year (morning and evening, given the duration) but would probably save 20% of food costs (pressed oils can be relatively expensive) and 20% of consumables cost per the upper limits guidelines- essentially as if you had a grove of olive trees and a group of specialists who were making oil by pressing olives up to the maximum savings, or .14 lbs per point of inhabitant.
personally I would consider "I'm just going to eyeball an estimate for greater accuracy" to be a contradiction: frankly we have so little understanding about the actual economies of such details in the medieval world that all we really have is guesses and ego, at least standardized rules means the errors are going to be standardized and save the back and forth bickering and over-under bias second guessing.

1 Like

I disagree. I think I have a sufficient grasp of "medieval economics" to eyeball stuff better than the "standard" formulas -- which are just very, very, very rough approximations, even according to Covenants itself! But nobody forces you to post that :slight_smile:
Still:

Less distracting patter, and more magics!

And given the fact that the medieval economy was mostly barter and shifted tremendously from town to town never mind region to region with the fluctuation of availability of base materials and poor and inconsistent trade routes and transportation, I would say anyone making such a claim is an egomaniac exposing their own ignorance.
But hey, we all have our own opinions.
but the fact is the title of this thread is "non fatiguing spontaneous spells for the thrifty covenat" not "lets throw the economics rules out the window and discuss a ruleless system"

Ward against maggots, CrAn 5, R:Touch, D:Ring, T:Circle
This simple spell is often cast on the outer rim of a circular container to keep all Animal-based foodstuff inside from spoiling. Typically used to preserve meat, fish, eggs or butter, with an Aquam requisite works on milk as well. Note that foodstuff added after the spell is cast does not benefit, but one can remove foodstuff a little at a time without affecting what is left inside the unbroken circle. As usual, this spell can be cast at one level less at D:Conc, and boosted to D:Ring (or D:Sun, but that requires renewal twice a day) with an appropriate version of Maintaining the Demanding spell.
Base 2 (preserve an Animal corpse from decay - from the same CrCo guideline, considering that both CrCo and CrAn provide +3 to recovery rolls at this level). +1 Touch, +2 Ring, +0 Circle

How much is this worth in savings? This depends a lot on how much food the covenant derives from animal sources: covenants with significant flocks or herds, or fishing operations, can save a lot on provisions, particularly because meat output is highly seasonal (a significant portion of the flock is slaughtered before winter, to save on fodder). I'd say this can easily save 5% of the provisions cost, all the way up to 20% and more for a covenant relying heavily on meat and fish. Magical preservation, possibly with other Forms, could also turn into a (probably Trivial, or at most Lesser) source of Income; a notable example in the Roman Tribunal is the well-known Altamura bread, known to keep fresh for up to a month.

2 Likes

Using non fatiguing spontaneous magic is a very interesting possibility. I am currently thinking a lot about this problem but it never occurred to me that there is an alternative to crafting magic items.

Very brilliant format that you post a spell and a short paragraph worth of deliberations on how much money the spell actually has the potential to save and under what different conditions.

The Eternal Stove... for the day (CrIg 10, Base 4, +1 Touch, +1 Conc)
I reckon, it is clearly not possible for a young mage to spont'ed it without fatigue, but it has a good potential for saving combined with the right Maintaining spell.
Cast on a large cauldron, cooking made easy and fast. No fuel, no smoke.
It could also be used as a pseudo central heating system since water is brought to the boil instantly: transfer the water into large container, bring it to cold room and there is your portable heater. It is labour intensive, but the carrying of hot water is handled by servants.
During cold winter, I am sure it can save a lot of fuel.

Possibly a version using Base 3, thus Level 5 could provide a similar benefit, except the heating would not be done at instant speed.

2 Likes

In general for this, search for Circle Ring spells and cheap items.

No books here but:

Lamps of Eternity. CrIg5-15
Touch Diameter Ring
Those circles drawn in items (generally the head of a torch or a lamp) produce light equal to a cloudy day. During daily hours they are removed from the better lit areas of the Covenant and placed in chests, and brought out once light starts to fade. In other areas that see few days of Helios they are not removed.

Blessing of the Alpine Room PeIg
Sight, Circle, Ring
In the ceiling of a room, a magical circle keeps all the contents below chilled but not frozen. the circle is in the ceiling so that the passage of servants does not disturb it.

A healthy hole PeCoTouch, Cicle Ring
A ring surrounding a hole that destorys human matter that tresspasses the cicle's border. Generally placed somewhat low in a shaft, this method ensures that the depositions of the castle folk have less chances to cause health problems.

The helfpul well ReAq
Touch/Structure? Circle Ring
Placed on the rim of a well, this ensures that the well is always flush with water dfrawn from the terrain below.

The eternal fireplace
Touch Circle Ring
A circle in a fireplace or cooking area. A fire burns merrily in it. Forever.

3 Likes

But the magus have to trace the circle while casting the spell! I think that pretty much forbids range Sight.

I think the spell could work for R: Touch, if only you'll have to push magi up in ladders. And I don't know about your Saga, but magi in mine tend to have negative Dex scores. Making them climb ladders is something that probably a lot of grogs will group to watch.

2 Likes

Ladders are for mundanes. Rise of the feathery body.

2 Likes

As usual, doesn't work when cast like this, unless the outer rim is the outermost circle of the container. So, works with a bowl, not an amphora.
Why? Only things within the Ring/circle are affected.

Already mentioned as problematic by @Ouroboros

I have traditionally asked for a Terram requisite for effects like this.

How exactly is this supposed to work? Unless you know there's water further down.

Nice idea, works great (and I was about to post it myself until I saw this), except it has to be T: Individual. Creo spells that create something cannot have T: Circle.

But now we need a level 10 spell/effect as well. Yes, it can be changed around, but still.
A lot of work from a magus/maga who'd rather be doing something else, neh?

1 Like

Magi I tend to hang around with would definetively see two things to do as too many. Two too many.

Also, Rise of the Feathery Body!? Wings of the Soaring Wind is the real deal! It may not be the best tool to work on indoor ceilings, but style comes with a price.

Circle fires are cool anyway. Specially if you have a Merinita knowing a few D: Fire spells.

also removing small quantities of affected material does, by definition, break the circle.

1 Like

Ah right. This is why Pentagram (Augustan brotherhood) is superior to Circle.

1 Like

Using Covenants page 51, you can see "The invisible glass worker" is ReTe4 and could be used to repair glassware, turn raw glass into useful forms.

By analogy, you can have
"Trimming the stone" ReTe 4 - turns a block of masonry into the right shape to fit where it is needed, saving valuable stone mason time when doing upkeep on buildings. (base 2,+1 stone, +1 touch)
"Shaping the nail" ReTe 5 - turns a piece of metal into a nail as if a smith had worked it (base 2, +2 metal, +1 touch)

Sadly trying to shoe a horse requires Animal, Terram and a group target for the nail, the shoe and the horse (even if you're trying to do one nail at a time) so is too high for spontaneous magic. Maybe if you know a mage who is trying to inlay bone and metal into his talisman for bonuses, you can persuade him to develop a formulaic spell which you can then repurpose for mundane use?

Adapting the "Abluere Magica" on page 52, you get ReHe(An) 5 for a magical clothes-cleaning spell, which is probably good for reducing the need for serving staff.

3 Likes

Could you point me to the source rule for this ? Or is it the common interpretation of this kind of spells ?

In core, basic book, p. 112 "The spell lasts until the target of the spell moves outside of a ring...", beyond that it is an exceedingly common understanding of that guideline...

2 Likes