I'm trying to design a Maga who would specialize in ring/circle magic.
I've decided to give her a modified version of the Major Magical Focus virtue and the flaw Short-ranged magic to represent this specialization.
The primary advantage of this specialization would, of course, be various kind of Wards spells, but I would also like to hear any idea you might have to make this concept interesting and efficient, as well as more original spells designed with those parameters (I'm browsing the core rules right now, but there aren't a lot of these spells. Is there a supplement that could have more of them ?)
Thanks for your input.
edit : I already had a couple of (quite obvious) ideas :
A chamber of invisibility spell (useful for ambushes and the like)
A hospital spell (CrCo with bonuses for Recovery rolls)
A Revelation Circle (in which every invisible thing would become visible, InIm)
You could take a look on the additional rules for ward magic in HoH:S pg 110 under "Columbae". This includes a quite powerful minor hermetic virtue for tracing rings more efficient.
As for spells, many spells can be converted just by changing parameters. More are found online, like in the grimoare on this forum. Ring/circle magic can be quite powerful (and abuseable), so I suggest to proceed with caution and have a word with your SG.
Thanks, never read this tradition of Ex Misc, I'll get to it then.
I'm actually the Alpha SG of the saga and this character is supposed to be a helpful companion for my players while they explore regiones filled with Magical, infernal and faerie spirits, so they won't be worried about overpowering, I guess. (Unless the NPC makes them feel useless, I'll be careful about that...)
Making a circle/ring mage I also suggest a readup on wards. You should clearify a ward's need penetrate and how they resist spells with the group. This will probably require a house rule or two.
A nice (and not too long) summary can be found here: http://www.redcap.org/page/Ward
We already agreed that wards need to penetrate only to trap something inside a circle, not to prevent it from entering. (I know, there's no logic there, but that's our house-compromise.)
We also agreed that spells cannot be moved (be they rings or boundaries).
I just read the Columbae. Their minor virtue is indeed very powerful (especially for a minor virtue). I'm probably going to make it a major virtue and forget about the idea of the Major Focus : Circle Magic. But I'll need to re-read it first. I think the "short-ranged magic" flaw is a good balancing tool for a Maga of this type, anyway.
I always thought T:Circle could affect things moving inside a circle. Is that not made clear in the rules ? I have to go back and re-read that too, then.
Thanks to both of you for the additional information, clarifications and thoughts.
The guidelines for wards states that "They prevent things warded against that are within the circle from leaving and prevent things warded against that are outside from entering. Warded things cannot act across the circle, no matter witch side they are on, nor can they damage the circle, directly or indirectly." (ArM5 pg 114).
When using circles for other things than wards it will be a diffrent story. I suggest to allow ring duration ONLY for target circle. Endless duration is really powerful, and a "clever" mage could abuse this in many ways. Also note this line: "The spell lasts until the target of the spell moves outside a ring drawn at the time of casting, or until the ring is physically broken." (Circle/ring guidelines).
Yep, I agree that D:Ring & T: Circle should always be used together.
Another thing that is mentioned in the description of the Ring/Circle virtue for the Columbae is the possibility of using ring/circle spells with a trigger. (A InVi spell that alerts the caster any time a Faerie enters it.) This could also be a very useful (and powerful) way of using circle to set traps or alarms, but I'm not sure how to adjudicate this. Would you allow, for instance, a circle/ring spell that creates fire to trigger only when someone step into it ? Maybe you could add this option to the spell by adding one or two magnitudes to its base parameters...
There are purposes where Ring/Individual would be approrpiate - these are all Creo effects.
Actually the easiest way (I think) would be via the Watching Ward spell (ArM5, p. 162).
Because Columbea do not need to trace the circle as the spell is cast but can use a pre-existing circle, they should actually be able to cast Ring/Circle wards that trigger off events (Via the Watching Ward in their absence.
Another type of fun you can have with wards are Amulets (RoP:D, pg 137) - basically they allow you to carry wards/circle magic around with you, or else make wards semi-permanent on structures (well, up to a year) without having to use ritual magic. You don't need any special virtues, either - amulets are basically considered a specalization of Hermetic Theory. You do, however, seem to need an Amulet skill. You can use your Amulet skill in addition to Magical Theory for enchanting certian items though, so it's not that bad a deal (IMO.)
The main "disadvantage" is that an individual can only carry one amulet at a time, and each amulet can only carry 1 magical effect. Also, the level of the spell in the amulet is limited by your Amulet skill (5 levels per rank of skill. So an Amulet skill of 6 lets you cast lvl 30 amulet effects). My magi character tends to use them to grant the grogs Wards vs. Magic or Farie, and then sends them out to fight farie lords and dragons.
So, basically it's a way to create cheap, one-effect magical items, to power up your grogs and companions. And because you can put them on structures, my magi has a "Magical Flying Cart" ReHe effect that turns his wagon into a flying machine. (He was actually trying for an amulet version of "7 league stride", but he botched the experimentation roll and got a flying cart effect instead.)
Well there is the Milton Chantry salt house: One ReAq circle that makes all water within tun to steam (leaving salt behind if you pour in brine) and one ReAq circle that makes steam condense into liquid water so there isn't a huge plume of steam from the roof. Both level 5 (base 3 change state of water + 2 ring duration)
The same principle could be applied for other processes - a ReAn circle that fullers woolen cloth within its bounds, a yarn spinning circle, a concrete mixer, a flour mill, an ice maker etc etc.
I think you are misreading the text. The example given is a simple InVi spell that detects Faeries when they enter the ring. Plain Hermetic magic can do it. Columbae, by incorporating an arcane connection to a Faerie, can restrict the spell to that specific Faerie while gaining a penetration bonus against it.
ReCo Ring circle spell around the border of a circular lab to animate any skeletons within to act as servants to the necromancer master
This is a nice little spell as it allows you the benefit of permanent magical servants but without the hassle and time expense of enchanting them. You can imagine automated worker spells using the same for all kinds of things.
I've used circle frequently with spells that you would usually use group for. In particular using it to animate lots of skeletons at once to mine ore in a tin mine owned by the covenant.
My sagas have always allowed the ring duration without circle targets too, although the only situations i can remember it being used for was a ubiquitous magical lighting system with most of the labs have several dozen ring/ind light sources. I have no particular problem with that. Given how vis poor our new saga is (the Nathas saga, they have exactly no vis sources at the moment), I fully expect to see some ind/ring spells to create cows or sheep for milk/wool. Very limited in what you can achieve with it, but useful nonetheless).
One of the chief advantages to Circle spells is the access to Ring duration, and the best way to exploit this in an interesting manner is to think of simple, low-level spells which can easily be made static. One of my magi had a subterranean Sanctum, but it was full of trees and plants, each surrounded by a Circle spell to ensure it grew healthily - this was such a low level effect it could be spontaneously cast with no difficulty, but meant he had ready access to all sorts of nasty little leaves and roots, as well as more salubrious living conditions. Preservation spells are also very useful. Circular wards against mundane things are never going to go amiss either - yes, you probably waste the corners of your library, but excluding all vermin, fire and damp makes that a worthwhile expense.
Circle spells are also useful if you travel with a group of people, as they scale well with numbers, unlike the Group Target. As such, you could use it for support (Circle of Well Rested Travellers, circle of Cerberus' Spawn [MuAn, makes all your hunting dogs stronger and deadlier], Circle of Warding Against Crappy Weather Conditions) and defense quite easily.
The chief difficulty with Circle spells is constructing the circle, so do be aware of the requirements there and make sure you don't make yourself unable to draw a circle more than a few feet across.
I guess you do not allow a circle/ring (ReIg) to be inscribed on top of a torch to hold a CrIg flame then. That is a staple combo IMS.
What if I cast a circle/ring on the deck of a ship. Does it fail if the ship sets sail?
What if I do it on a cart? And a shield?
What if I cast a ring cicle on a castle wall and then teleport the castle a tousand miles away. Does the spell fail since the support moved?
COMMON SPELLS IMS
The said torches. There are dozens of them around our covenants.
Sick bay providing bonuses to recovery.
Crowns providing bonuses to recovery as well. As said, we allow for moving circles.
Preservation of food and materials (ReAn, ReAq, ReHe and PeIg for the freezer).
ReAq to send water from a subterranean spring to the basin in your kitchen.
larger versions of the torches to keep the fire in the fireplaces burning throughout winter without the need of fuel. Sometimes used with a CrIm effect for Sun duration when we have mundane visitors that are spooked by fuel-less fires burning.
Healthy stables and orchards. Those tend to need renewal to keep the effects, but have the bad side of warping, so they are used with caution. Generally those are used during the winter season only to prevent the trees and animals to warp too much
Elevators. One tube going all the way up the tower on one side and you go up, and a circle by its side that has the opposite effect (go down). handles in the wall allows you to pull out of the current and land on a given floor. The elevators can also be used during construction or to transport stuff up and down using ReTe.
In general it is useful to put the circles on the ceiling to prevent accidental breakage.