Shape shifting clothing

In our table the talisman (if wielded or wear) transform with the magus. But only the talisman. For other magic items must be creative. A spell to make a robe seems cheaper and easier for the cloth and cold solution. Illusions are a good complement.
Teletransport items to you can be another solution, but hard an expensive. The lack of magic items at hand is the drawback of shapeshifters.

I'll just note that this problem is specifically addressed in Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults, using an Intellego effect to sense the change and then a second effect to transform the object (usually merging it with the magus's body).

So look there for some specific spell effects!

don't they cause warping though for the constant intellego effect. I wondered about it because yes, the Bjornaer Prima in Guardians of the forest has the effect on her talisman.

Well, don't make them constant effect, make them concentration with item maintains. Then when you're spending seasons reading and doing lab work don't activate it. When you're on the road and liable to be shape shifting do activate it.

I'm kinda wondering about that for constant effect spells. Can't you make a spell that is constant but that isn't "active" when the target isn't valid? I thought about this the other day while driving, actually, lol.

So, for example, say you wanna make a belt that turns you into a bear. A spell that does this with Sun duration and touch target simply reads "turn someone you touch into a bear for a day". This means that you touch the target only as you cast the spell, then he's a bear for a day even if you're not touching him anymore. This effect put in a belt with constant effect would turn somebody into a bear forever (as long as the enchantment isn't dispelled), because it needed to touch him only once when the spell started. Or, if you go with the very literal effect of the chosen parameters for this "constant effect", you'd be turned for a whole day, then back, if you're not wearing the belt at the time of the next sunrise.

I tend to go with the first explanation, that somehow the right combination of duration, uses and enchantment effect does magically morph into a "constant duration effect" because that seems to me more appropriate. Legends, lore and myths are plentiful about trinkets that turn you as long as, and as many times as, you wear them, without having control over them as you'd have with an item enchanted for concentration maintenance.

Now my question is: couldn't you reword the effect in a slightly different manner, without requiring a change in parameters? Enchantments are not spells, even though they are created similarly in game mechanics.

Instead of "turn someone you touch into a bear for a day", it would make more sense to me to reword it like this for an enchantment: "for a day, turn someone you touch into a bear". This means that the duration refers to the time you spend touching somebody, not to the time that somebody you touched remains affected afterwards. I don't think this rephrasing requires any sort of rebalance in terms of levels or parameters. The effect lasts a day, requires touch and turns somebody into a bear, but until somebody is actually being touched, there's no bear.

The point is: a spell that acted as a linked trigger for something like this could simply be an InAn effect that verifies that whoever is targeted is an animal. While you're not an animal, you can't be targeted by the spell at all because the spell isn't InCo.

Have a look at this: Object Maintains Constant Effect .

So an ArM5 p.99 Constant Effect Device with R: Touch needs to touch its target at sunrise and sunset to maintain the effect.


So, as I asked, does that mean that spells don't even happen unless the conditions are met? That seems kinda counter-intuitive to me. It's like having a gun that won't even fire unless you're sure to hit, or a car that won't even start unless you've got enough gas to reach your destination.

Personally, that doesn't make sense to me. It implies that magic acts as some sort of computational language, a function that won't run unless the parameters are valid. Of course, I'm not trying to impose my personal interpretation of how magic works in this game, I can simply HR it and be done with the idea, but from the link you posted there, it doesn't seem that they thought about it from all the angles when they decided to remove the "constant" effect and just re-create it through other means (and nothing wrong with that, this game is too complex to be able to keep track of every single nitpick).

According to the texts (noble's parma, or more exactly, I don't even remember where exactly in 38 books I've seen this, lol) magic happens when radiant vis is channeled and shaped into an effect through some means -usually a magus casting a spell. I would consider that the spell is cast regardless of the target being valid, as long as the effect is proper (meaning that the spell would work if aimed properly). So if I use Creo Corpus to try to heal a dog, I'm casting the spell properly, and if that was a ritual I even used the vis. That it works on the target is another story.

Otherwise, for example, if I use a similar spell with target Structure on a building, I won't even spend the vis needed for it if there's nobody in the building. Or, if I throw a Pilum of Fire at somebody that I incorrectly guessed in range, nothing will happen. That doesn't really look cool (which is what matters here, honestly). I'd say that what should happen is that a lance of flames would indeed fly towards him only to dissipate before reaching him.

In the example I mentioned, the idea was akin to the difference between letting water flow slowly from a faucet for a whole day, or throwing a water balloon containing all that water in one go. Instead of spending most of the magic to maintain somebody shapeshifted for a whole day, I'm slowly releasing enough power to keep somebody turned while being actively targeted. If there's no target, that doesn't matter, the magic is used anyways, and wasted.

I think both bear transformation power descriptions are different and valid.

The part that is strange is when you've written "for a day,..." as the items power will turn somebody you touch into a bear as many times as it has charges per day. Each transformation is a separate instance of the instilled effect, which happens to have a sun duration.

It cannot be one effect for many targets as many of the targets are not present when the power is invoked.

I don't see your problem here.

An effect in a magic item is not a spell (see ArM5 p.98). You can design a magic item to cause an effect to a being touched when putting it on, donning it or such (see ArM5 p.98: "... other items trigger if they are put on"). If it is an ArM5 p.99 Constant Effect Device with a R: Touch effect, such an item needs to be touching the target at Sunrise and Sunset to continue bestowing its effect (see David Chart's post I referenced before).

So lets assume, that you have a belt which is an ArM5 p.99 Constant Effect Device with a R: Touch effect triggered to turn its wearer into a bear when put on, and keeping him/her in that form while being worn each Sunrise and Sunset.



That is the thing I'm considering here. I'm not viewing the spell as "turn this dude I'm targeting into a bear", but as "turn whoever I touch into a bear". The duration, or more precisely, what does it refer to, seems to me the key difference. In the first case, you touch somebody (for a moment) and he turns into a bear (for up to a day). In the second case, you touch somebody (for up to a day) and he turns into a bear (for a moment). In both cases, It's still a single effect, so doesn't need more than one charge.

Why is that necessary? I can think of some spells that don't follow that rule or that use a very open interpretation of it. For example, Ward Against Heat and Flames (ArM5 p.143) refers to whoever is warded as the "target" (so we could argue that he's obviously present when the power is invoked), but the guidelines for ReIg level 4 state "control a fire in a slightly unnatural fashion (for example, stop it from burning a person)". Unless you can target a "person" with a guideline that is supposed to target "a fire", this spell is doing exactly the inverse of what the guideline says: stopping a person from being burned by fires, not a fire from burning people. It's targeting those fires by proxy. All wards do this (they target whatever you want to protect, even though they affect whatever you want it to be protected from), but in many cases the guidelines for each art don't specify that this applies only to wards.

This actually deserves more attention. Since that spell targets a person, but affects any fire that might touch him, could I not do the same with the shapeshifting spell? In that case, the target is the device, not the person that turns into a bear. The effect would be: "anybody who touches the target (or in this case, who wears it) turns into a bear". Since the target is the device itself, It needs no more than a single instance of the effect to affect any number of people for its duration, and can be safely invested as a constant effect. I could even make it R: Personal, since the device won't be casting the spell on anything else than itself.

In fact, same could be said about the linked triggers described earlier in the thread. Such an effect doesn't need to target anything but itself, since it could be defined as "checks the species of the being that is touching the target (or, in this case, again, wearing it). Since the target is not the wearer, he doesn't suffer any warping. It shouldn't even need a range greater than R: Personal.

Of course, you can find contradicting lines anywhere in the forty-something books. The rules in the same book state that linked triggers require R:Touch to work (ArM p.99) but this one here uses D: Concentration, with only 1 use per day (implying that you must concentrate to keep it active at least once per day, or it will stop working halfway and you won't be able to use it till next day). Then, the example we were discussing originally is supposed to be a "constant effect" with D: Sun, environmental trigger, etc. The real issue is that there is so much material to work with, which can offer different explanations and ideas, that it's not clear where is really a HR or just logical interpretation.

For example, you could argue that only wards, or only Rego spells, can use that sort of interpretation of the guidelines. The rules also state that only momentary Creo ritual spells can do permanent effects, yet there's this dude in Legends of Hermes (or Magi of Hermes, sorry, don't have that book nearby) who uses a momentary Muto ritual spell (with requisite Creo, or viceversa) to swap body parts of creatures as a permanent effect. Again, it's not clear if the breakthrough that he required to do this refers precisely to the ability to swap body parts, or to use permanent Muto spells, but I could use that sort of rule-gymnastics to create a "ward" that instead of pushing stuff away of the target, turns them into bears. I'd just need to add a Rego requisite, or to make it a Rego spell with Muto requisite.

I guess that each author has given these rules a different interpretation. In the link that One Shot provided, that was made clear, there are situations that weren't even considered until brought up here in the forums. Personally, I don't know what would be the best interpretation balance-wise, but I wouldn't like seeing constant enchantments like the one I described ruled out because of technicalities. Stuff that affects anybody as long as it's worn is something that can be found in most tales. Think about The One Ring, lol.

I'd still take the approach that the device needs multiple charges per day, and the effect activation trigger is the wearer touching somebody. It's a simpler approach which I think is more in line with the intent of the rules.
You're right on many points, and there is complexities here that break depending on how they are applied. Great summary.
I like to keep it simple, because frankly it's easier for me to follow.

I'm making it excessively complex because I can think of many arguments and counter-arguments myself as I explore the idea, but I don't think that it needs to be that way.

The issue I see with your approach is that it doesn't really create the effect that I describe. Your device would allow multiple people to be affected, as long as they put it on once and then gave it to somebody else. Reducing it to two uses would mean that it wouldn't be "constant" unless the effect was maintained for the whole duration, which you might not want (again, you probably don't need to be invisible, or a bear, for a whole day). Same goes for D: Concentration, but in this case you could also will the effect off and keep the device on.

That's far too complex for what I want to do. I want the device to affect a single target for as long as he's wearing it, no less, no more. But as many times as anybody decides to wear it. This is also something that you can find in pretty much all tales, legends and fantasy literature. It seems odd to me that they decided to rule off something like this, honestly. That's why I give so much consideration to the issue.

In previous editions you could do this easily with "constant" use since it was an independent frequency. For example, in ArM4 an invisibility ring with R: Touch and constant uses would turn anybody invisible as long as they decided to wear it. I never understood what use had the effect's duration there, since the rules never addressed that. My take was that the duration specified how long the effect would remain "after" the device wasn't in use, so if the previous invisibility ring had D: Momentary, you'd become visible as soon as you took it off, but if it had D: Sun, you'd be invisible until next sunrise/sundown after you took it off. A consequence of this was that in practicality constant effect devices could be made with lower magnitudes than most similar spells, which I guess it was the reason for the rules to be revised.

[EDIT] Another option could be a device with D: Momentary and unlimited uses, which would be constantly triggering itself. This would be more or less the same level as the book's take on constant effects (maybe a couple levels less, if it doesn't need environmental trigger), but then, the question would be if such an effect would be considered as "no flickering", and could be a massive source of warping points in some cases.

All in all, I'd argue that any device that affects only one target at a time and only while worn shouldn't be as difficult to make as one that could potentially affect as many targets as you could pass it to, more or less simultaneously, and only requiring them to use it for a moment to be affected for a whole day.

Meaning in Tales. Meaning it's very appropriate as a Faerie Duration. And, lo, here comes D: Until :wink:
Not so much for a magus (it's Ritual), but as a faerie prop, this is very much appropriate.
For exemple, going back to the sub rosa article about items of power, I can see a Faerie cape of invisibility with the power to make someone invisible at touch range with D: until she removes the cape.

This is nice IMO, since it helps make Faerie powers really different from Magic ones.

If you really want Hermetic options, you're more limited. Options:

  • The more RAW IMO: unlimited effects, D: Conc, item maintains Conc, with the hardwired instruction that he drops it whenever the wearer removes the cape.
  • More dubious (But I believe there's a precedent for D: Mom effects lasting slightly more than a round, which allows some overlap), R: Touch, D: Mom, unlimited uses, with the effect being cast each turn on the wearer. Note that this amounts to +10 spell levels, about the same as a 1-use item with Sun duration. Also, beware the warping.

In the ArM4 game I'm playing that is still going on, I understand that "constant" frequency enchantments are pretty much like that: unlimited frequency in a constant state of auto-triggering, in which I assume that the lower cost can be explained by the inability to control that.

I think that D:Mom + unlimited uses would make the most sense for effects that are intended to be used on people regularly in adventures but not really for long periods of time. For example you might want your equipment to adapt to your Bjornaer's transformations during a quest without worrying about daily uses, but for the rest of his life, you won't be really in need of that. Warping shouldn't be that much of an issue, in fact I recall reading somewhere that "effect modification" levels don't count when considering if the effect will cause warp, since those pertain to the device itself, which means that this method produces effects generally two magnitudes lower than the book's "constant" method. In the other hand, these should be for personal use only, since anybody else would get twilight points so fast that probably Criamon are already doing it, lol.

But for the "tales" thing, I wasn't talking about tales within the game paradigm but IRL. Magic in Ars Magica uses a very original and complex method, but it's still based on our fantastic concept of magic that is used in fantasy and myths. My point is that this is something that is very tied to the whole concept and I'd consider it strange to see it ruled out. And yet, the idea of a faerie enchantment being constant seems to me even weirder, considering how "inconsistent" faeries are described.

I don't know, personally I don't see any problems with doing as I described, taking advantage of the ward mechanics if necessary. Is it stated anywhere that wards can only repel things? Why not wards that turn arrows into flowers, melt swords, or turn people into pigs, instead? That's also something very common in magic lore.

Nobody here will tell you, what to do in your game and what to agree upon with your troupe.

Yes, there are canon spells like ArM5 p.143 Ward against Heat and Flames, or HoH:TL p.73f Aura of Inconsequence, which run fast and loose with the ArM5 concept of target. And there is the Minor House Mystery Virtue Sensory Magic from HoH:TL p.27f, which tries to provide some systematic to a part of that.

The usual way to explain all this is: Hermetic Magic is at best a science still in development, and some spells and effects exist and work, which even the combined Order has not yet fully explained and integrated into its system.
Turning every individual spell concept from ArM books into a general rule applying to every other spell and effect leads straight to home-brew. Not that home-brew is bad, as long as the troupe has fun.


Yeah, I understand.

Still, this game is complex enough that sometimes it's hard to tell when you're just making a logical assumption based on the examples, or when you're jumping into "real" house rules. Often, a spell does something not entirely covered in the guidelines, and if I don't see much info about that, I tend to understand that it's something trivial. The problem comes when different authors reach different ideas concerning stuff like this and contradict each other, like in the constant effect concept.

For example, I see no reason to consider that you need any sort of breakthrough to use wards that do other things than keeping things away from the target. That's easily covered by requisites rules. And then, you can just make use of those rules to create a device that contains a "ward" which turns whoever touches the target into a bear, or invisible.

ArM5 p.114 Magical Wards only allows such handling of targets for "the thing protected" by a ward, just like ArM5 p.113f Magical Senses immediately before only provides special targets for magical senses. The reason, why wards work this way, is given in HoH:S p.112ff: they are themselves already a late integration of Columbae practice to Hermetic magic theory. That is, they themselves were a Breakthrough in the sense of HoH:TL p.26ff and AM p.7ff.

Why? If you wish to use requisites to transform Guidelines IYC, you best hash that out with your troupe in time, after reading with them ArM5 p.114f Requisites.


Why not? A ward is a spell that "protects" the target from the given form. I agree with the idea that turning enemies into bears hardly fits into the definition of "protection", but I don't think that giving additional effects to wards through requisites is something so out of the ordinary. A ward against metal weapons that also rusts them into dust (with Perdo requisite) seems to me a very proper example of the idea.

I don't think I'm transforming the guidelines in this example. Requisites are used to include additional effects to a spell, either based on proper guidelines (like all Muto guidelines, which often specify requisites) or on extra functionality given to them (there's no guideline that says that a Rego requisite prevents you from freezing yourself when using Perdo Ignem spells, yet there's a spell that allows that... because that's one of the uses for requisites, unless I'm very mistaken).

The bit about warding by turning "enemies" into bears or doing something to them that doesn't fit a proper description of "protection" is indeed a wider conceptual gap... But to me it seems like a very easy jump. It's creative use of the guidelines that doesn't technically break or modify them. I've seen greater rule-gymnastics in the books before, honestly. You could even consider that one a proper ward still, if you decided that turning your enemies into beasts could be considered a "punishment".

If you're telling me that magic is something aware and affected by the final "concept" of a spell and the real intentions behind its creation, and that my example isn't a ward because in the end it's not "protecting", then you're portraying magic as something much more capricious as I understood it from the Realm books, honestly.


ArM5 authors have created new spell guidelines all the time, and if you look around, there are also complete lists of those ArM5 spell guidelines available. Some canon spells do not fully conform with guidelines, and best are considered as their own ones.
Also many sagas have their own added or modified spell guidelines.

But if a player tries to sell his troupe on "creative use of the guidelines that doesn't technically break or modify them", and specifically on a spell concept, which allows to turn all people coming close to his maga into mice or all metal coming close to her to rust, he better be prepared for a resounding "No". You don't play Nomic ( ) with your troupe.

ArM5 has no rules allowing such concepts, and doesn't need context sensitive Hermetic magic for this.
The argument "but ... the rules don't forbid it either" is well known and gives away its user to his troupe.


I'm not sure if I follow you. Maybe I've misunderstood the rules all this time, specially those about requisites.

There's a guideline to Creo Aquam, base 10, create a geyser. (ArM5 p121) There's another guideline to Rego Aquam, base 10, move water in a very violent way (p124). Unless my English is worse than I give myself credit for, I understand that, according to the rules for requisites, I can make use of both guidelines to create a Cr(Re)Aq spell that produces a geiser that I can control in a very violent way, for example. I'm not adding or modifying any spell guideline there.

Similarly, if I invent a ward against fire using Rego Ignem guidelines (p143) with base 4 (control a fire in a slightly unnatural way), I'd assume that I could also make it extinguish the affected fires, with Perdo requisite (using Perdo Ignem guidelines, base 4 to extinguish a fire, p142). And while that wouldn't make much sense, I'd consider that if I wanted the spell to turn the affected fires into blooming roses that grow from where the fires stood, I could do that as well. Because there are also guidelines for turning fire into other substances with Muto Ignem, with the proper requisite (Herbam in this case). Or my beloved ward against people that turns them into bears. Of course, many of those additional effects would increase the spells' levels, but that's not my point.

My argument isn't just that rules don't forbid that, in fact, it is that there are, as I understand, rules that specifically allow that.