Of Ice & Steam

The ReAq guidelines give you a level 3 effect of

So no Ignem, Terram, or Aurem required for this effect. I assume the ice you make is still cold and the steam you make is still hot, natural changes and all that. Given the size guidelines for aquam, plain water is a pool 15 feat across and six feet deep at the center, that is a lot ice and steam for some very small magnitudes. That is also a lot of heat and cold for the magnitude.

Some things that you could do with this effect.

Make a large blocks of ice in any body of water for various uses. Touch and and Part gives you a magnitude 5. With such a spell you could make blocks of ice about the size of my home office with ease.

Catch someone you don't like standing in or near a large puddle of water or small pond you could either freeze them in it or cook them like a pork dumpling. Voice and Individual mag 5 again.

Give some one a face full of scalding steam as they bring their wine to their mouth. You could stay with Voice or move to Sight for subtlety and ease of application so magnitude 10. From there you could switch to group or maybe even hm...

Sauna of Relaxation Rego Auquam level 20
R: Touch, D: Mom, T: Room
This spell instantly boils any liquid contained within a room as long as that liquid boils at a temperature similar to water or lower. Created by a Bjornaer in the Novgorod tribunal with Arcane Experimentation. The Magus had and ignem deficiency and only wished for a spell that would allow him to warm a sauna up before he entered it. He would leave a pan of water inside. When he wanted to relax in his sauna he would touch the door wait a few moments for the heat to soak in then enter. He also created a voice/part version of the spell to make more steam from water he brought in with him. It was his Apprentice who realized the spell could effect any liquid that boiled at a temperature lower then water as well. The same apprentice latter used this spell to kill a rival during a wizards war. He actually found the wizard held up in a well stocked manor house. Seeing his enemy surrounded by casks of wine and beer the young Bjornaer knew just the spell to use.
Base 3, +1 Touch, +2 room +2 broad range of liquids.

If you believe that quartz is ice so frozen it refuses to melt again...

it is the nature of water to become cold (ice) or hot (steam)... so no need of ignem (creo or perdo) with it...
steam is necessary hot (otherwise it is liquid water) and ice is necessary cold (otherwise it is liquid water).

with a perdo ignem, you can make something cold (so as water become ice or snow) but it is an indirect result, you don't create ice or snow by taking away heat, you just help the nature of water.
with creo ignem on water, you don't creat steam, you just heat water which becomes steam because it is its nature at this temperature.

With rego aquam, you really create the ice or the steam by regulating the state of water : you don't take away heat, you transform the water in ice and thus heat is out, you don't add heat, you transforme the water in steam which is hot...

It could be a muto as it is a transformation, but rego is logical as ice and steam are just states of water at different temperature and not a different thing.

With rego aquam, I don't see any need of requisite in ignem or in terram (ice is not terram) or auram (steam is not auram).

In the same idea, rain is auram as it is a weather phenomenon and you don't need aquam requisite when you want to make rain.

Our resident flambeau (water elementalist) uses that kind of effects all the time. bridges of iceare quite common as well to cross between islands.


I agree that you don't need requisites for the Rego effect, but I'm not sure that ice isn't terram and steam isn't auram. I don't think it's ever been clearly spelled out in 5th and the four elemental arts are a little wonky that way. (In 4th for instance I believe it was clearly spelled out that ice was terram and I still play it that way when magic effects it drectly) I don't believe the guideline necessarily insinuates that the steam or ice is still Aquam since it states that any liquid can be changed in this way.

So for instance molten sulfur a liquid natural philosophers at the time played with would be affected by aquam by my understanding of the rules. Although Sulfur vapors seem to be Auram and solid sulfur is obviously Terram. All of this is open to a lot of debate because as I said the elemental forms are wonky.

I basically play it that all four forms can make ice in one way or another. Some examples being.

CrTe Make ice ex nihilo.

PeIg Target water with a cold spell so that it freezes.

ReAq Force a natural state change in water so that it becomes natural ice.

CrAu Make Ice fall out of the sky in the form of hail.

Of course Muto magic can make ice using just about any form. For me though turning something to ice requires a Terram prerequisite not Aquam. This would be true even if you are changing water.In that case when the spell expires the ice turns back to water because the change was not natural.

There are no less than three ReAq spells in AM5 changing water to ice (well, snow in one case): Breath of Winter, Bridge of Frost, and Ice of Drowning, and not one of them has any requisite, so I think that the fact there is no need for one is fairly well established.

That said, I agree that Aquam only applies to liquid: vapors are Auram, and ice would be Terram (even though it is never mentioned that I can remember in any spell or guideline). So melting ice could be done with a ReTe spell with no requisite (neither Ignem nor Aquam), and changing steam back to a liquid would be ReAu (but that's basically rain, so no surprise).

On the other hand, I would be very leery of a ReAq spell creating steam hot enough to cause damage (or for that matter, ice causing cold damage). If you want to actually cause damage from either heat or cold, you are clearly intruding on Ignem territory. Pounding someone with chunks of ice is perfectly okay however, and Ice of Drowning does just that.

IIRC, The ice is not cold and the steam is not hot because that would require an ignem to change the temperature.

Yes but to have those results you would need a Muto prerequisite since cool steam and warm ice are not natural substances. Something rego can't create.

They are hot/cold but once the spell isnt active, they loose heat/cold naturally.

I would say you can split ice into pieces with ReTe, but not melt it. While ReAq can turn it back into water directly.
Melting it would require Ignem. Using ReAq, you´re not actually melting or freezing the water, you alter its state from liquid to solid or gas.

I use the baseline that the heat/cold when directly changing water to steam/ice is the absolut minimum needed to cause the change, so roughly 0C/100C. The steam is hot enough to cause some damage, but not severe.

Not to interpose science into this, but the steam coming out of a teapot over a fire will burn you far more quickly then the flames heating the water. Even though that steam is only within a few degrees of it's boiling point and the flames are several hundred degrees hotter. Steam happens to be a very good way of transferring heat. Of course the heat is only one thing you have to worry about. Imagine standing next to a sealed cask who's contents just got 1700 times bigger instantly.

Another way to keep the steam version of this effect from being easily weaponized would be to say that without additional magnitudes the state change happens fairly slowly. As if the target was at a steady boil for the duration of the spell. Basically momentary spells would only turn a small portion of any single quantity of water to steam. Enough to give someone a surprise, a puff of steam from a cup a closed container might pop at the seals and spray some of it's contents but no explosions. A diameter spell would last long enough to transform each individual target.

I know, but we´re looking at magnitudes greater differences.
The CrIg comparison is that heat enough to boil water is equal to direct fire damage of +5(at base 4), while Base 5 is enough to create ~800C.
And, add to that, the way you cause fire damage with CrIg is far more efficient than if you stick a torch at someones nose.
So even if its not perfect, its pretty much in the "good enough" category.

Oh yeah, steam explosions are NASTY.

That might be a workable solution yes. Sounds good.

Sounds good to me as well. +1 magnitude for "explosive" steam as opposed to "progressive steam" seems fair.

In any case, you can have LOTS of fun with muto aquam. Rainstorms into hailstorms is always fun to make a rival's life miserable. Presteris (our local aquam flamboyant flambeau) has developed a soft touch for soaking wet our hermetic rivals, every time they come out of their aegis. Douglas has gained a reputation for being the most foul place in the British isles. Fog into fire is also fun, but that is more difficult if you are not an elementalist.


To make ice ex nihilo I would use Cr(Re)Aq (I create water which I regulate) or Cr(Pe)Aq(Ig) : I create water and take away heat...
I would never use terram for ice...

For steam, it could be auram, but auram is mostly air and weather... I don't really imagine creating steam ex nihilo with a CreAu or you should have a Cr(Re)Au(Aq/Ig)

Creating ice in a natural shape is base 3 (HOH S p34).
It's a natural aquam product, and I wouldn't ask requisite.

(Apologies for the semi-threadomancy, but this required (and deserved) some thought...)

Ice and steam (and things like lava) all conspire to create headaches, no doubt about that.

RAW, ice and steam are listed within the basic Rego Aquam guidelines (123) - "Base 4: Change a liquid into the corresponding solid or gas (For example, change water into ice or steam.) This does not require requisites." However, the guidelines simply do not comment on whether "heat" is created or destroyed by that change.

However, nor is Ignem included in any Creo Animal or Creo Corpus effect that creates those living beings, yet they must be "warm" if they are “alive”, correct? If an Animal mage were caught in a blizzard, and wanted to create live animals to keep warm - would that not work? No Ignem requisite, yet some additional warmth is clearly provided and created along with the magically created, living creature (imo, at least)...

From these examples and the above discussions, it’s fairly obvious that the relationship between ice, water and steam simply refuses to fit neatly into the Hermetic basic system, and so we are left with either work-arounds to explain it, or some semantic sleight of hand to reconcile the model.

From reading the core book, intuitively*, anything that creates significant heat or cold (the destruction of heat in the Hermetic model) would require Creo Ignem or Perdo Ignem - that's at the core of the given definitions of Techniques and Forms. Creo creates (or heals), Perdo destroys, Ignem is warmth/heat/cold.

(* and I’ll admit this is problematic, because “I”, along with most SG’s and Players, don’t have more than perhaps a “0” score in Hermetic Theory)

So where does that leave us?

Exactly - it is clearly not Muto because a water-to-steam/ice effect is not an unnatural transformation - Rego covers natural transformations (in 5th ed, at least). (It is a magical transformation, but not unnatural - otherwise any Rego change that is not completely natural in time and progress would require Muto.)

Natural ice is necessarily cold, not magical ice. Yet magical ice that is not cold is not “natural” – and we’re back to Muto…yet ice and steam are natural states of water… ugh.

By the RAW, this counter-argument has just as much validity as the other, but let's look at some other clearly valid Rego effects that change things in an "unnatural" fashion:

o Turning a ferocious lion into a submissive 200 lb pussycat, eager to be scratched behind the ears, in a heartbeat is not "natural" - yet Rego magic can achieve this. Ferocious beasts do not naturally obey the whims of humans, yet this is not a problem and does not require MuAn.

O Changing a calm pond into a rushing wall of water is not natural, yet...

O To Levitate a target with Rego is not natural. True, to move them to X location may be natural, but to hold them there, suspended in air, is not – yet we are not Muto’ing the target to have no weight (which would be a different route to a similar effect).

O To teleport a target thru a solid wall or narrow bars is not natural, not without Muto'ing the target into gas or a narrower version of themselves, yet...

O turning a tree into a self-willed, fully conscious juggernaut is not natural...

O It is not "natural" for a person who just slept 12 hours and is wide awake to fall instantly into a deep slumber, yet this does not require MuMe...
Now, admittedly, none of these examples are exactly the same as "room-temperature ice or steam" - but they are not completely dis-similar, either. Both contain elements that are appropriate to Rego as defined, and elements that are not strictly found within the elemental nature of the target nor strictly covered by the Tech/Form combo “Rego-Form”, or not if we exclude everything arguably unnatural.

The alternate problem that the "steam = heat" solution creates is that if heat is created or destroyed, it breaks a different (and, to me, more elemental*) Hermetic principle, one more core to the system. If Rego Aquam creates hot steam, then Rego Terram would create searingly hot liquid metal, or insanely hot lava from stone with no Ignem req, right? Why bother with MuTe to turn stone to mud to trap something when you can Rego the same stone into lava and simply carbonize the victim out of existence. Using Rego to separate alcohol from beer, it should heat up both, because distillation naturally takes heat, otherwise it would be Muto – heatless distillation. And suddenly we have steam heating without Creo Ignem, iceboxes without Perdo Ignem, lava flows without any Ignem at all... and that's not how I understand Hermetic Magic to work.

(* no pun intended)

In short, it comes down to whether you believe, within your Saga’s/Troupe’s understanding of Hermetic theory, whether it is easier to ignore the “unnatural magical ice/steam” paradox than it is to ignore the “Rego alone can’t change water to a different natural form” paradox, and then live with the subsequent limitations that either ruling creates, the echoes of that ruling in parallel situations with other Techs/Forms.

(You could also require requisites, but that becomes impractical - then ice and steam become substances of great difficulty for Hermetic magi to conjure from water, and that just doesn't feel right either.)

For me, in my sagas, since hot steam or cold ice would require CrIg or PeIg, magical ice or magical steam are the same temperature as the water they started from or the day they’re created in - it's magical. The ice might be a bit cooler but not cold, the steam is muggy but not suddenly hotter. Magical ice does not melt faster on a hot day or slower on a cold day - the Rego effect is what holds it as ice, not the temperature. Fire or heat do not affect Rego ice any faster than it could evaporate the natural water (which is "almost not at all").

(I also require +1 magnitude for Ice (not steam) in the same way that some other Forms require it for more valuable/dangerous/desirable examples of that Form – ice is just more powerful than water, and some balance needs to be maintained imo. The diff between creating a cubic pace of water in the air, around a target or elsewhere vs. creating a cubic pace of ice speaks for itself.)

But, again, this is just one SG's solution to an unanswered question - ysmv.

Imo , Steam or Ice that remains at the same temperature as the water was originally is "Unnatural" ,
requiring the +01 (by RAW) magnitude and magic to sustain it..
Rego on page 78 (ArM 05):

The heat contained in steam is not potential "steam" , therefore no Creo required.

Insert , page 79 (ArM 05) , The Elemental Forms.

Because Base guideline should be a good deal higher?

Meaning that the instant the spell ends, it turns to water again. While handy in some cases, not so good in many other.

Mmm, useful point.

For that last quote, I don't see its purpose.

Creating ice is base 3.
Turning water to ice is base 3

in both cases, you create natural shaped ice. After that, you may want to use the same kind of parameters that we may found in terram: elaborate shape, flexilibity...

And as Ravenscroft quoted, when you target the heat of ice, you use ignem, when you target its solidity, you use Terram

For example:

  • Create the tower of Ice, CrAq 35 ritual (base 3, touch, size +4, +3 elaborate; like Conjure the Mystic tower, ArM5 p153). The wizard's Tower created will start to melt if the temperature are over 0. Except for it, it is a functionnal tower which will however require some fitting.

  • The frozen prison, Cr(Pe)Aq(Ig) 35 (base 5, voice, sun, +1 elaborate shape, +1 additional effect): this spell creates a prison of up to 1m³ of ice (which is enough to emprison 5 persons without trouble) from which the bars are so cold that touching them does +5 damage.
    (base used is the one of PeIg, since it's higher)

Experimental ice whip, MuTe 10 (base 3, touch, sun): this spell makes ice become flexible as a liquid, while remaining ice. Due to experimentation, this spell gives to his target a bonus of +1 to his recovery.