Permanent Size increases with Creo Corpus

As we all know, one can use instant duration Creo Corpus rituals to increase physical stats (strength, Dex, etc). Its high level stuff but potent.

But what about size? Could you develop a Creo Corpus ritual to increase a persons size to +1 and if so what level would the guideline be?

I am of two minds on this. On the one hand, Creo improves and its not immediately apparent that being big is better. On the other hand, bigger can be better and so increases to within the normal human range (i.e. up to +1) should be no more controversial than giving oneself +5 strength.

In both cases it is possible to start a character as such with virtues and large is only one point of virtues, whereas getting a physical stat up to +5 requires at least 2 virtues and most likely 3 (if you want a balanced character). Of course, size +2 would be beyond the bonds of normal humans and would require temporary muto magic.

It seems to me it would almost have to be a form of ceremonial initiation which grants the character the virtue "large" or "giant blood", though conversely a ritual spell to raise strength from +2 to +3 grants improved characteristics, and additional levels grant great strength, so there is certainly a fuzzy area...

No, no, I see what he is saying. The normal human size range is from -1 to +1. Increases, up to +1, would be within the scope of natural improvement. And at this low scale, the only impact is a change in the size of wound increments. Being smaller is a deformity, and being taller would be a monstrosity (Giant Blood means you are in part not human).
I would guess (do not hold me to this)...
Base 35 to improve size up to a max of -1
Base 45 to improve size to a max of 0
Base 55 to improve size up to +1

That sounds fair. It might be a part of standard theory in your saga, or it may require a breakthrough. Up to the individual troupe.

Remember that flaws taken at character creation are generally considered to be essential - if you take the Blind Flaw, hermetic magic generally can't undo it, while being blinded through accident or injury during play can be healed with magic, even if it can't be healed naturally.

As such, if you take Small Frame and are -1 Size, no amount of hermetic magic should be able to undo this - you are essentially Small Framed. The same goes for the Dwarf flaw.

OTOH, there's nothing to stop someone at Size +0 from having their size increased. Creo still covers 'growth', and could presumably cause 'natural' growth after reaching adulthood.

Agreed. Many players often forget that this applies to Poor Characteristic and go off hunting for the rituals that boost their characteristic at a later time.
That being said...

Is not an unreasonable base, as the change in wound levels is a pretty big deal. And it only really allows movement from size 0 to size 1.

Um... what's the word I'm looking for... ah... "No".

While human norm is indeed from -1 to +1, it's most definitely not natural for a grown adult* to change from one size to another. This is not like getting a little stronger or re-growing a hand which had been lost - it is (as mentioned above) changing the nature of the person.

Both men and women are perfectly "natural", but it's not natural to change between them. Parallel situation here.

Note that you could give them the "Obese" flaw, as that is (potentially) natural, but that does not give them +1 Size.

(* It could be natural to speed a child's growth to adult size - that would work. But to augment a grown adult would require a Muto req or need to be a Ritual (or both?), imo.)

A Characteristic specifically hit with the "Poor" flaw, yes. But barring such, low or negative Characteristics can be improved magically.

"Weak Characteristics" would be a debatable middle ground. Ysmv on that, would take some consideration whether that, as a specifically chosen Flaw and thus part of a Character's Essential Nature, could be (partially) overcome by magic.

Another method could be from a Mystery (which IMO could also provide virtues like Giant Blood, or flaws like Slight Frame and Dwarf). But that's not the same as using Hermetic Arts to do that.

An adult I don't think could be made larger without Muto. But a child who has not reached full development, possibly they could be induced to have a 'growth spurt' but to be honest i think that would be iffy. Creo makes them achieve their true nature. If their true nature was to be tall, but they lacked proper food during development, then they wouldn't be tall and maybe such a spell could make up for it (and by spell it still might be a Ritual). But if their true nature was not to be tall (regardless of diet/enviroment) than CrCo wouldn't do anything, and it would require Muto and not be permanent.

The problem is knowing whether a child will be tall or not is likely undeterminable with Hermetic Arts as it can't see the future.

If you consider potential for growth to be a property of the body, Intellego Corpus could probably do it.

I hardly think getting quicker or more dextrous or more perceptive is 'natural' either - but Creo can do that. Hermetic magic can make a moron (-3 Int) into a genius (+5 Int) - also not natural. Getting bigger? Maybe - but this is kind of a slippery slope. If I can boost Stamina, why not grant Rapid Convalescence? If I can boost Strength, why not gain Reserves of Strength? How about Keen Vision? Light Touch?

Should virtues be considered as much of essential nature as flaws taken during character creation? If so, then hermetic magic cannot grant virtues, nor flaws, on a momentary basis. Just as you cannot essentially Blind someone with PeCo magic, nor can you essentially make someone Large with CrCo.

The other side of the coin is to allow a lot of virtues to be gained through CrCo/CrMe magic. This probably isn't wrongbadfun, and would best be at a level comparable to increasing someone's stat to +4 (base50), but it does sidestep the general tendency of Ars Magica to make Virtues have a price beyond vis - via twilight, mystery initiation, pilgrimage or whatnot. Not sure what the baseline for a major virtue would be, but it's probably at least a 60.

To be honest, I like the way this discussion is developing. I can see this question becoming an obsession for a Magus or even a group of them. They decide to improve on God's work, just as science does (and has done). Why can't everyone be tall? Smart, Strong, handsome? Why shouldn't mean heal faster and resist disease, poison, the elements?

The Gruagachun could be a good start for the magi. These Hedgies are known to be able to bless and curse in equal measure, maybe whole new developments in Corpus and Mentem could be made to improve man.

A Hermetic Super Soldier Program :smiley:
But the very phrase "improve on God's work" worries me, for you can also gain all sorts of benefits and bonuses as Tainted/False Virtues.

Improve God's work has been a constant feature of research and cults during humankind's history. I say go for it. It can certainly be the core driving force of a covenant, either PC or NPC. If anyone is watching Agents of SHIELD, well, this is what it is all about in practical terms.


Forgive - I should have used the proper, technical terms. I said "natural" when I was talking about was whether it was "part of their Essential Nature". Because that is the touchstone here.

Correct. (Altho' Mysteries can, in some cases.)

It has been established that gender and most(!) anything defined by Virtues/Flaws are part of EN. I submit that "Size" falls into that category, even "normal" size*; Characteristics (short of those taken outside "human norm" by Virtues/Flaws) do not.

(* in a similar manner that a Virtue/Flaw is not needed to choose gender)

While it is explicitly stated that males are essentially males and females are essentially females, the only thing the text says about the human form is that the basic shape is part of the human nature. So size isn't even mentioned.

A really high level ritual (60th level, using the base above and touch range) to go from size 0 to size 1 isn't really "cheap." It is a huge investment into Creo Corpus, inventing the spell from scratch and also a huge risk in the event of a 0 rolled on the casting die. 13 botch dice is probably going to result in a botch. Perhaps a spectacular one.

Through hard work "poor" can become "wealthy" and the mechanics are in City and Guild. It really depends on which flaws or virtues we are talking about, and really I don't think defining magic levels based on virtue/flaw level really makes sense. After all in virtues the second level of great (characteristic) is the same cost as the first, but in magic it requires an extra magnitude.

I think that's part of the problem conceptually. Most game systems nowaday's have rules for increasing "Attributes" through "experience" and it's certainly not unnatural in them. Also this sort of thing isn't unheard of in the real world for physical or mental stats ( anyone) Real or not Ars Magica lacks such a system. Leaving magic like hermetic Creo rituals or cult initiations as the only RAW options for increasing base stats. This creates sort of an odd situation. The advancement rules give a character no "natural" option to raise a base statistic. But the magic rules clearly define raising statistics as "natural".

I think this results in a bit of a nature or nurture issue for Ars Magica. Is it natural for a character who exercises a lot to become stronger, faster, or tougher. Is the Ironmonger strong because he is a smith or a smith because he's strong. Are great writers born or made. Are Magi geniuses because they spend years being trained in a thought intensive activities like lab work and spontaneous magic. Alternatively are the Gift and High Int co-morbid conditions or does the order of Hermes only recruit those both smart and Gifted. Or is the first thing every Parens do is take the Apprentice to a CrMe specialist for a brain boost.

I tend to follow the 50/50 explanation both in real life and the in the setting. So a character who has a talent in writing (in game a high Com or Good teacher) might choose to pursue it. A person that pursues writing should learn to better express themselves in the written word. (again that means a higher com or gaining the virtue) It's an accumulation of advantage thing whether there is an easy model in the rules or not.

For character creation it's easy. Your character has giants blood so he was apprenticed to a blacksmith. His Master S.O.B worked him like a draft animal so he has great strength and stamina. Makes perfect sense.

Your character loves the written word. She has been reading and writing since her scribe father taught her her letters. Her Jerbiton parens encouraged her to keep a journal have penpals and maintain correspondences. This justifies her strong parens, Free Expression, +4 com, good teacher, and book learner quite well.

Of course it's a game about magic so you can also have magical explanations. You have a high Int cause your parens didn't want to wait for a 7yr old to be a usefull lab assistant so he CrMe you. Your Large because your mother feed you meat from a giant magical chicken. You have venus blessing cause you lost your virginity to a Wood Nymph.

In play it's harder but I'm not averse to handing out or changing virtues on a case by case basis if the players has worked for them and the story warrants it. Certainly there are plenty of virtues that can be aquired through play even without ritual magic or initiation. Virtues like True Love, Relic, Mentor, Magical Animal Companion, Wealth, Social Status, True Faith, ect. not sure if the game will fall apart if Improved Characteristics ends up on that list to. It might be from seasons spent devoted to improving core capabilities or from intimate relations in a magical hot spring.

That being said I still wouldn't give a size increase or most other virtues through CrCo.

I don't believe that I implied it was. Hence why I chose the words "I submit that..."

Not true.

The Rules do not pretend to be exhaustive, nor do they attempt to be (nor could they be, realistically). So they give "a rule" within The Rules, that "...As a rule, any disability purchased as a Flaw at character creation is part of a character's Essential Nature, while disabilities acquired later are not." (p 80, par 1) So the Rules are also saying that any Flaw that affects the human form is part of EN.

If Small requires a virtue and thus is EN, then it stands to reason that Large would be as well There is no good argument that shrinking a person redefines EN but enlarging them does not.* Hence "normal size" is another part of EN.

[i](* A predictably simple quibble would be that the Rules only mention "Flaws". I believe they do this only because, in the context of that paragraph, the previous text (p 79-80) describes losing body parts and going blind - hence the example is that a blindness caused in-game is not part of EN, but a character that starts with the Flaw must endure that as originally designed. The authors are concerned about trivially removing Flaws with magic, but the parallel for gaining Virtues is implicit.

If anyone is going to explain this away, they must first explain why being small is EN by the above rule, but being any other size is not. And why a mage can enlarge a normal person to size +1, but by the above rule that same mage somehow cannot enlarge a size -1 to "normal". )[/i]

As far as game-balance, that is a solid argument. If you're going to allow it, that'd be the way.

Ummm.... while being poor could, in some loose sense of the word, be considered "a disability", I believe it's fairly clear to most that they're talking about physical disabilities. Being an Outlaw or having Monastic Vows could be seen as social disabilities, but that's not what this discussion is about. Really. :wink:

What? It might say a bit more than that, but if you're going to refute it at least do more than say not true.

Indeed, I didn't say that the rules were exhaustive here. Nor do I dispute what you say about flaws and essential nature.

By that reasoning spells can't raise characteristics, except perhaps in cases where aging has caused them to decrease. As you say, the rules aren't exhaustive.

Well, yes. It's relatively consistent to the spells that can increase attribute scores to +5 being base 55. That's the idea I think Marko was going for.

Well, spells being unable to raise characteristics permanently is something that would make my troupe happy since we find the current RAW to be moronic in that point.

My preference is restricting these to House Mercere, and there has to be a reason why you're getting these spells cast upon you. They have the lab texts and they don't share them and the rest of the Order doesn't share them if they have them, either, out of respect for the House, I suppose.
It is still possible for any magus to invent these characteristic boosting spells from first principles, but it requires someone with pretty high Creo Corpus/Mentem scores to invent the spells. A lot of time is invested in this endeavor, too.

Back to the original topic, it also seems consistent that if such a spell to increase size does exist/is possible that it would be the realm of House Mercere's Cult of Heroes...