Reylar Valerian's First Spell

The very first spell invented from scratch in my Saga, and done by Valerian, whom the other mages see as something of a wannabe. Wannabe scary, wannabe impressive. Anyway, here's the spell as we put it together.

Caul of the Obscuring Mists

Creo Auram 15
D: Diamter, Range: Voice, Target: Individual

The Magus flings his hand, and a cloud of black smoke streaks towards the target. This creates a cloud of black smoke around the head of a target, causing -3 to all attack and defense rolls. -3 to Awareness checks to do with sight, as well as +3 botch dice. In Valerian's version of the spell, it hisses slightly and the smoke is black and writhing..

Base 3, D: Diameter, +2 Voice, +1 Rego allows mist to follow target

So, now... please discuss.

In other news, Reylar is a chronic experimenter. He seems to want to get on the Path of Warping...


A first spell deserves due attention.

3 base effect

  • 2 Voice = Lvl 5
  • 1 Diameter = 10
    +1 Rego = 15.

Well, on the surface, that math works fine. (which is a great start around here, believe me!)

Target "Individual" for Aurum is a special case, one "cloud" in this case (as opposed to being an effect of X dimensions/volume), so that's kosher by me.

The question, then, is whether the effect can yield all those penalites- -3 to attack, defense, awareness, as well as +3 botch dice. (And these are not defined as such by the guidelines.)

The Guidelines say "Create a severe weather phenomenon, (such as) deafening thunder, monsoon rain, impenetrable fog, gale force wind." So, what sort of penalties could those, or one of them, apply?

Imo, any one of those penalties, even more than one, could be caused by one of those weather phenomena, and a combination of weather could certainly cause them all (even more!).

You are essentially partially blinding the target with "smoke". That seems on a par with "impenetrable fog" - I've seen fog where you couldn't see the end of your car hood, and close to losing your hand at the end of an outstretched arm (and heard of same from reliable sources!), so "magical impenetrable fog" works for me to partially blind someone.

But, exactly where the 3 extra botch dice come from is unclear (except perhaps wishful thinking?). However, being "blinded by fog" could certainly create some botch dice for some actions, if not all.

Another question would come from "Does the cloud just around the head justify another magnitude for trickiness?" If the cloud were all around them, there might be penalties for both sides to attack/defend, and certainly to see what the victim was doing, so this is an improvement over that. But, compared to other Magnitude 3 spells, it seems in the ballpark, so I'd not worry about this consideration.

So, if it were me (and these all come down to personal opinion, of which I'm only one), I'd allow it as written, except to rule that only "relevant" actions would receive the botch penalty, but not all- anything that depends on clear vision/etc, so Running, Awareness, some (but not all) Athletics, Missile Fire, Spell Targeting (but not casting!), etc etc. And I'd add that it'd be equally difficult (if not more so?) to clearly see the victim's head/face/shoulders while this spell was functioning.

Nice little spell. (Bonus point for the word "caul".) :wink:

Perhaps the botch dice only apply to the actions listed: attack, defense and awareness.

Otherwise, I agree with Cuchulainshound's excellent review.

Nice spell!

I'd probably only add an extra botch die, but otherwise, I'd be good with it. Curse of the Unruly Tongue only throws in an extra botch die...otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much else that has a similiar effect.


"Another question would come from "Does the cloud just around the head justify another magnitude for trickiness?" "

Would it not be possible to do away with the extra magnitude by simply reuiing the spell to be targerted?

Remove the onus from the spell to "find the head"? And put it there yourself when casting it?

Or as listed would it not need targeting in the first place because the cloud itself, wihout intellego Corpus, certainly isn't going to "know" where the head is in the first place.

Might be simpler to make the target "part", and make it a targeted spell. [simpler to eplxain, if not to cast...]

Fog/smoke doesn't usually get impenetrable unless it covers a considerable area - so this is definatly unnatural... I'd suggest adding 2 magnitudes for this effect... Alternatly letting the smoke/fog cover a bigger area...

But the duration is 2 minutes. You don't target a "head" and then have the spell follow that head without getting fancy, and Rego is the (well, "one") way to go there.

("Part" would be 1 magnitude higher than "individual" in 5th ed, so no savings there.)

Where are you from? Never heard of fog so thick you can't see the end of your arm? I have - it's certainly unusual, even rare, and unheard of in some areas, but hardly unnatural. "Impenatrable fog" - sounds about right to me. But, as I said, it's a personal decision, no "right or wrong", just what's reasonable to a troupe. :wink:

Hmmm... Level 2 Creo Aurum Guidelines refers to "a normal weather phenomenon" - would the "local norm" of weather be a consideration for magic, re what is "natural" vs "unnatural"? A sandstorm or equatorial heatwave in Scotland, an impenetrable fog, blizzard or monsoon rain in the Sahara? Would that add a level of difficulty to design a spell? Or casting that spell in different environs? Or just to cast a Spontaneous one in different climates/seasons?

Would a snowstorm be a "normal" phenomenon (Lvl 2) in Winter, but a "severe/slightly unnatrual" one (Lvl 5) in Summer? While that would effect Spont magic, how would you rule for Formulaic spells? :confused:

Or is this all on some objective "Medieval Paradigm" scale for known weather "worldwide" (ie ME & etc)?

We solved this by allowing spells to be designed to only work during certain conditions (say only being able to make lightning if there is a storm), which allowed for lower levels being used.

I apologize for not responding sooner. Yes, the botch dice were to be added to attacking and defending and awareness. I suppose the Storyguide should also add in botch dice for other grossly physical activities, based on the spell's effect. Climbing, leaping a gorge, but not tying a knot based solely on touch... etc. etc.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts.


Good call, but in my experience most players hate to have spells "limited" so. When they want lightning, they want it now! :unamused:

If the fog effectively blinds the target, there are a number of things that become completely impossible, rather than just receiving a penalty (q.v. the Blind flaw).

I think the suggestion was that it partially blinds them.

If it completely, literally blinded them, the spell would be a bit off-balancing, imo, and require something a bit more complex/high powered.

Yes, the smoke/fog does not blind them, but it does make it very hard to see what you're doing. Imagine your glasses steamed up, perhaps?

Reylar cast it for the first time tonight. Sadly, it was against Imanitas Mendax - in the body of Renaldo's missing master - and the spell failed to penetrate...


I'm curious here...

If he'd just had it create a thick, visually-impenetrable-botch-spawing cloud, about 8' in diameter, at a specific point in space that didn't move, well then... we wouldn't be worrying about Penetration, but it would need to be aimed--as per page 86 in Arm5, and I would guess it would have a decent bonus to do so...( I do realize that would limit the utility of the spell. :slight_smile:

but, since the cloud follows the person it's focused upon, and avoids the need to be aimed, then we're concerned with Penetration, yes?

Since he failed to Penetrate, what did you have the spell do? Fail to create the cloud? Create the cloud, have it race out and surround the recipient's head, but fail to have it follow the intended individual?


The wise people at Atlas actually thought a lot about how the oddities of the Parma works and wrote a section in the main rule book about it, Pg 85, "The Functioning of Magic Resistance".

I think the guideline in question is: A jet of magical water parts abound the maga, and she does not even get wet.

My guess is since this is such a small amount of smoke it will rapidly break up after failing to get around the magus, causing no effect at all.

If you changed the spell to actually be a lot of smoke, there's no specific guideline, but I think it would be the area around the magus is clear, all the other smoke still exists, assuming you targeted someplace "near" the magus not the magus himself, and hampers both attackers and defenders. The smoke would continue to be "pushed aside" by the magus's Parma where ever he wandered in the effect.

If the spell actually targeted the Magus with a large amount of smoke that would follow him around, I believe his Magic Resistance, if successfull, would stop the spell totally.

Except that I thought this just created a cloud around the victim's head...whether or not it actually contacted the victim wasn't clear, if it was a solid sort of mass of vapor, a shell, etc-- more detail than we needed at the time, but kind of pertinent when you consider Parma in the equation.

If it's a shell, then the smoke never touches the magus... I would think it would form around his head, but not "stick" and as soon as he moved, he'd be free of it.

If it's a mass of vapor, then I think the Parma guideline you've mentioned is sound-- he'd get a shell of smoke around his head, but again, it wouldn't stick and in either case, it'd part as he left it.

I disagree. I think it could fall under the level 3 guideline-- a debilitating type of air, maybe with a cosmetic ignem (for smoke?) or imaginem (for colored air?) requisite?

I think, in this situation, if you make it an immobile cloud, you bypass Parma-- akin to the "create a wooden box around her so she cannot see or move" guideline. The box doesn't yield to the maga who touches it, she's stuck. In the case of an immobile, obscuring mist :wink: the Parma wouldn't help you with seeing within the cloud, but you could just walk out.


So, by that reasoning (which strikes me as sound), the spell as is (Cr/Re) would form a small cloud around the target's head (the Creo part), but if the spell doesn't penetrate, the Rego wouldn't kick in to keep it there if the target moved even one step.

Makes sense to me.

Can you create a cloud in the general vicinity of a mage's head with a spell without checking Magic Resistance? Yes, but it must be aimed. Will it follow the caster around like the spell in question? No. He could simply duck under it or stroll out of it. I assume the amount of smoke made is very small, just a small ball around the targets head, otherwise it's hindering everybody else too, including mages trying to target him, grogs swinging, etc. And the spell does not mention that.

However, I submit the spirit of the Magic Resistance rules is if a spell is resisted it does not work against the target. The only way around this is with aiming a spell. Maybe you could make a spell that you can aim every round so it follows the target, concentration duration seems a natural for this. Or perhaps add some Intelligo component so that cloud can sense the mage's species and follow it around. It just isn't in this spell.

I disagree with your disagreement :smiley:

If this was magical fire created all around you and you resisted it, I think you would expect the fire not to damage you every round no matter where you roamed within it. There are no rules for needing to apply your Magic Resistance multiple times against the same spell, multiple casting aside.

The magically created smoke would stay at the edge of the mage's parma, and if you had created yards of the stuff he would still have to walk out of it to be able to see clearly (except right by himself).