Rules for an odd spell...

I'm getting to grips with this awesome game and thoroughly enjoying running it... so different to the kind of tripe we usually play. I'm still a little new to it all, so apologies if this is all covered elsewhere.... but I was after some advice on a rather weird spell:

It causes the target (a person) to become enormously obsese, ideally to the point where they are unable to move under their own power.

Have had a look at the rules and see that it is Muto Corpus 25 to turn a human into an inanimate object. (which requires a terram requisite). This spell is ideally meant to be as physically debilitating as being a statue. Without the requisite it is generally much easier to cast. However the target can still talk, so it's not as disabling. Does this sound right to you?

At voice range (+2). Diam duration (+1) this is level 40 - does that seem overly high? Too low? About right? Any which way, quite a tough spell to develop!

Could you achieve this effect using 'Creo' instead of 'Muto'? That also seems to cover adding missing body parts and so forth. If so, what would you guideline that as?

If it was to work on animals as well, would you just add an animal requisite? Or is it a whole new spell?

I note that the same 'turn an animal into an inanimate object' effect is 15 using Muto Animal. This would seem to indicate that an animal effect with a corpus requisite would be a lot easier than a muto corpus with animal requisite. The player making this will ask, is there a good explanation for that? Should I direct them to the MuAn guidelines instead?

What sort of size do you think the target would end up? +2? +3? +4?

What would you call it? - 'Weight Gain 4000' is what the player was referring to it as, but I don't want to get South Park all over my lovely medieval game! Although I fear that may be a lost cause... :slight_smile:

I think the guideline you need is: MuCo "Level 3: Utterly change the appearance or size of a person (though they must still remain human in form)."


R: Voice (+2), D: Diam (+1) = MuCo 10

Creo shouldn't work, since you're not making them "more ideal". Most guidelines parallel between Corpus and Animal, but the Animal guideline here is "Level 4: Make a major change in a beast, while leaving it recognizably the same sort of animal (make a horse bigger and change its color)", so a magnitude higher.

The final size should be +1 over what they were to start, I'd think.

As for the name, how about "The Glutton's Curse"?

I doubt that +1 size is enough. If you are incapacitated by obesety it is probably size +2. Therefore adding another 5 levels to the spell for à final level of 15. Otherwise the calculations seems right.

Thanks both for the input there. Really appreciated.

I'm inclined to throw another couple of sizes onto it - push the boat out... make it a size +4 + Level 25 spell. Although I suppose that's stretching 'human in form' to the limits somewhat... although they probably are just about the right shape...

IIRC, one spell magnitude is a tenfold increase and increases Size by 3, or every Size step about doubles the weight. Compare to Giant Blood which is Size+2 and up to 500 pounds.

I completely disagree. By that logic, it should be Perdo, since Perdo "makes things worse examples" - and we know it's not Perdo. (It's also judging "more fat = less perfect", which is purely subjective.) An emaciated starvation victim would grow more fat from the appropriate Creo spell - the effect should not discriminate.

Or, look at it a different way: the basic rule is that Muto is for "unnatural changes" - things that could not happen without magic. Creo would be simply "making something grow larger naturally". Obese people are natural, ergo it's not Muto, ergo it must be Creo.

So it all depends exactly how much bigger the target gets - if "as fat as any (natural) person" (which is pretty big!), then it's Creo. If nightmare/cartoon quality fat, then Muto.

(In terms of Game Mechanics, the limit is probably Size +1*. But what happens when all that size is "fat" and no muscle, and now a normal person suddenly has to carry all that extra weight? Might not be "too much to move", but it would certainly be too much to move easily. (I'd look to the Obese penalties, and maybe make them far worse for size +1.)

So, with Creo, what you're doing is Creo'ing toward the Platonic Ideal of the fat man (or something like that). Muto "grants properties that something cannot naturally have" - and, again, we know being fat is natural.*

(* "Obese" is Size +0, but there has to be something larger, so +1. I'd be willing to believe that Giant Blood is not a "natural human" - as the name of the Virtue implies. ysmv.)

The challenge is to judge the Base (since there is nothing similar under CrCo). The Animal equiv is only found in Muto, since animals apparently don't come in diff sizes (annoying and false - but they don't offer a Creo equiv).

If you can create an entire Human Corpse at CrCo Base 5, then I'd suggest that making them naturally fat would be Base 4 or 5 or so - but that's ultimately up to the SG (and/or Troupe if they're allowed a voice :wink: ).

Yes, and for a good reason. This is far beyond what you're trying to do. All you need is the weight without the muscle, not "solid stone".

Since equivalent MuAn only adds +1, and with Humans +1 size is still "natural", I'd rule that this is not adequate for Size +2(+) - but I would understand if someone felt differently. Pure judgement call. (Just because the Guideline says "utterly change" does not mean other limits and guidelines can be utterly ignored.)

And once you hit Size +2, which is +2 sizes beyond "Obese", the penalties as read under Obese would be far stronger.


If you just add a requisite, it's +1 magnitude*, and the Base is based off the higher of (Te)An or (Te)Co.

(* Note - this would def not be a "free" requisite, as the new effect distinctly does something more than it could without.)

If you wanted a spell that only worked on animals, that'd be separate, natch, but lower magnitude than the dual-purpose effect (and possibly much lower, depending on the Corpus Base effect starting Level).

As above, depends on the Base you start with. Higher Base would give bigger size and bigger penalties. I'd say once a person hits +3, they're not going anywhere without an impressive Strength Roll, and +4 might not even allow that (or not anything that isn't well into double-digits.)

Thanks, Cuchulainsound - Some great food for thought there...

I'm a big fan of opening these things up for discussion with the players, definitely prefer a collaborative approach instead of 'edicts from on high'. It's a strong starting point for a discussion.

Do particularly like the thinking with Creo vs Muto. Like the idea that a creo effect can unlock the 'platonic ideal' - which makes sense as a 'major flaw' equivalent to obese, probably functioning less effectively on someone who is already obese. Or, for a rather more supernatural size, go with Muto. Think the 4-5 range sounds about right there for Creo. I'll juggle the numbers a bit to make an interesting mechanical trade off... Half inclined to throw the perdo 'making things worse' in there as a side debate, as that also fits quite neatly and pushes forward more 'medieval thought' that this game tends to promote!

Good to clarify regarding the level for Animal vs. Corpus - that would have been my inclination to take the higher of the two. Was with you on the requisite costing, feel you're right that it adds to the scope of the spell - think I just wrote it badly in the first place!

In particular, I'll have to credit you with the 'Platonic Ideal' terminology, that's great and really adds a sheen of class to the discussion.

Thanks very much! Really appreciate the input there! :slight_smile:

It's a natural change - So not muto
It's not learning something - so not intelego
It's not automatically more perfect - so not creo
It's not automatically less perfect - so not perdo

That means the logical choice is it's a natural change that can be caused by people. As a result, it's Rego.

Although I don't necessarily agree, I do want to commend you on the succinctness of your excellent case.

Muto can do a lot of what Rego, Creo and Perdo can do, just not with any effect lasting past the duration of the spell. For example, using Muto to alter someone's hair length simulates:

Creo (growing more hair, only lasting with a Ritual)
Perdo (destroying some of his hair)
Rego (cutting his hair)

Turning someone into an obese version of themselves for a fixed duration can easily be done with Muto. In theory turning someone obese could be Perdo, but since more tissues are being created it would require some sort of curse like effect that makes the person obese over time. The same could be done with Rego if the raw materials were available (turning nearby food into fat and other tissues). Both of those would create lasting obesity.

Note that depending on the true Platonic ideals, carrying some weight might be considered better than worse, though given that Obesity is a flaw, Creo is probably inappropriate. OTOH, a terminally skinny person could be fattened up to 'healthy' weight with Creo magics.

And what Craft would this use of Rego be simulating - Cook? 8)

I'm reminded of the (rather dull) argument as to whether one can use PeTe to carve a square room out of stone (for an underground lab, for instance). Some argue "NO! Because it improves the stone!..." or claim that CrTe can do the same to a rough cave, because it "improves the space" by turning a roughly shaped walls perfectly square.

Not every effect that falls under Creo or Perdo makes things "better" or "worse" in an obvious, intuitive, subjective fashion. Creo is used for natural growth, even if that growth is not everything that society would deem "better".

Never said that was my point.

My point is that people have already stated it's not creo or perdo. Personally, the issue to me is moot, since whichever it falls under is going to be unpleasant for the poor soul cursed with it.

You could do the slow curse version via a perdo to destroy the person's ability to process the food they eat. Thus, it makes them fat. Also stops them having other important bodily functions for the time.

I'd still argue for Muto:

  • Arguing that it's using Creo because it's moving towards the "Platonic Ideal of a Fat Man" tends to undermine the concept. The Platonic Ideal would be "a Man". By definition, any adjective would be further from the Ideal, unless the adjective itself was something like "Perfect". Otherwise, you could use Creo to give diseases "the Platonic Ideal of a Sick Man" or unnatural changes "A Blue Man". Since the whole point of the spell is to cripple an opponent, it's obviously not making them "better" or "more perfect.
  • Making Rego the default choice when nothing else fits makes Rego the go-to choice for the Munchkin. In this case, you're not just "stretching" the target out to larger size, you're increasing his bulk. If you had a huge pile of food with you when you cast the spell, maybe Rego would be appropriate.
  • Since no one gains 500 stone over a few seconds naturally, this is obviously an unnatural change. So it's Muto, QED

(to be clear, I agree it's Muto, but only if the end-result is "unnatural".)

I thought about that predictable counter-argument, and thought about addressing it ahead of time, but it always seems to fall on deaf ears and someone goes there anyway, so I'll do it now. And it comes in several parts.

  1. The platonic ideal that is being addressed is not "man (handicapped by being fat)", but "fat (as embodied in a man)". There are Platonic ideals of adjectives, which are essentially "states".

  2. Your premise is that "fat" = "sick" (ergo "worse", ergo not Creo), and I do not accept that. "Sick" is, by definition, "worse". "Fat" is not as obviously so, at least not within "natural" limits (as I said above). That is a temporal social and modern medical judgement. Imo, fat simply is another state of humanity, like thin, or light/dark skinned - any of which can be negative and unhealthy (depending on the exact situation and person involved), but are not innately so.

Creo would (obviously) not be useful for the Platonic ideal of "dead" or "rotten" or "warped". This is sophism, nothing more or less. Putting "obese" into the same category is premised on it being objectively negative.

  1. If "the point" of the spell were the measure, then by that same logic Creo would be fine for making a man fat so they could survive starvation. And, conversely, regrowing an arm so that it can be tortured or trapped, or healing a wound so a criminal could be healthy and so legally executed would not be Creo, since the point is to hurt them, and that's "worse". The handicap of the weight is secondary to the effect - "the point" of the spell is simply to make them obese, and any repercussions of that change after that is not part of any consideration of "better or worse". (This is significantly different than giving them a disease or causing a wound, which, in and of itself, is "worse", by definition.)

...QED? Really?...

So any sudden magical change must, QED, be Muto and never Creo?! Please - we both know this one should never even have been suggested. :wink:

Okay, the "any sudden change must perforce be Muto" thing was an overreach, but I really think "fat (as embodied by a man" isn't something that you could create with Creo, any more than "dead (as embodied by a man)".

I think I'll get the group to have a read through this. Ought to provoke some interesting discussion!

Generally try to lean away from catch all rego myself, purely in the house rules area, as it seems to be a catch all for so many things.

Thanks again y'all!

Again, you're equating "fat" with "worse" or "unhealthy", and that's not remotely what I'm suggesting. Demonstrate to me that an obese person in ME is not, by definition, a "healthy" person, and I'll concede my point.

Let's see, how else can I describe it...

o Is a "fat" Santa Claus a "worse" example of a man than a skinny Santa Clause?
o Is a Sumo wrestler or a professional football lineman a "worse" athlete because of his weight?
o Is a person with large ears "worse" than one with small, or a person w/ a "Roman" nose worse than one with a button nose?
o Is a 6' tall person worse than a 5' tall one?

All of these are just "larger", and within the natural range. All of them can be handicaps in some settings, or judged "bad" by society, but they are not, in and of themselves, "worse".

In short, there are many Creo effects that fall into the "natural" range that no one would volunteer for - perfect hearing in a noisy environment, being taller in a cramped cave system, having a perfect sense of smell in a sewer - but that does not negate the use of Creo for those effects.

Also, see Creo description (p 77, col ii, par 2 under Creo) - "Natural things created by magic are always perfect examples of their kind unless the magus wants them damaged". I believe this opens the door for "sub-optimal" Creo - that it doesn't have to be "perfect", if it's within the natural (and healthy) range.

Reminder, folks: Ars magica regards weight and size as potentially separate items, given you can destroy an objects weight with Perdo, surely you can increase it with creo without changing size.

If it weighs more than it naturally could (i.e. becoming "denser" than natural), it is def Muto.

If "healing" an object that has had it's "weight" Perdo'd away, then Creo could do the job.

Sticking with the intent of the spell I'd say there's a few ways to skin this cat.

IMO, giving someone the equivalent of the Obese flaw, would be Creo Corpus. They are obviously fattening someone to an achievable human size as evidenced by a flaw that any person can take without any supernatural origin. It would be treated like the flaw, so no corresponding Size increase, just the other mechanical problems and suddenly their clothes don't fit well. Durations go up to Moon or Momentary as a Ritual.

If you want to go beyond that, now we're talking Muto Corpus. We're talking about what people in the medieval mindset believed a human could naturally get to I think. A person of normal height (Size 0 to Size +1) was still unlikely to get to some of the record breaking sizes that modern people get to with the assistance of modern medicine. My thinking is it would be 'unnatural' if someone of Size 0/+1 was getting up to 400 pounds, so that would likely be the minimum weight someone would get with a spell of MuCo and the intent to immobilize. Unless the person was stronger than average, they'd be pretty darn stuck I'd think. So that would likely do it. If you were to simply base such a spell off of the existing MuCo spells that make someone Size +1, with perhaps an extra magnitude for the special effect, that would likely do it. Now then, if you really wanted to blow the doors off, you'd add an extra magnitude beyond that and get the equivalent size of maybe +2/+3. So from there you might use the basis of the spell Assuming the form of the Giants of Eld (Magi of Hermes, Hugh of Flambeau) as a base, and add the Magnitude for it to be fat rather than just growing to giant size. Then you have cartoonish size and certain immobility I'd say.

As a MuCo spell the best you're going to get is a Moon Duration, unless you make it a Ritual, then it's a year.

From there...

If you want longer durations for MuCo, you can instead of making a spell, enchant an item that does that effect to its wearer constantly. It'd Warp them like crazy though. Another option could be using the Mystery Durations that you can get from House Merinita. They have ideal curse type spells, and geasa type spells to give some alternate durations. Not permanent, but you could create a spell that does this if someone backs out of a deal for example. An alternate could be the illusion of the condition that is so real it can’t be distinguished my most (Glamour). Also, the Mysteries of Hyminus the Mad from Verditius seem ideal for this type of curse. Again, not permanent, but could be made quite inconvenient.