Some Glamour spells for consideration

Hi, we have a quite dark Merinita with a Major Magical Focus in Glamour initiated in that Merinita Mystery, and we had been pondering some spells he could be interested in inventing. Glamour baseline is a flat 10 to create and to muto anything into glamour, which simplifies things quite a bit, but being such a high base it makes glamours high level spells pretty fast. Also the example spells we have found around (Magi of Hermes, pretty much) show some issues to us. In that book, for example, a horse is size +2, and every Animal spell regarding horses adds a +1 size modifier, but Scipio's Phantasmal Horse doesn't add any size modifier, which seems odd.

But let's go to the spells and see what you think:

Shadow Battle Horse
CrIm 40, R:Touch, D:Moon, T:Ind.
Creates a glamour battle horse of size +3, friendly to the caster and unnafected by his Gift, but not mentaly controlled by him. The caster's Sigil is a shadowy smoke, so the horses created by this spell cast some smoke around, and can seem a bit translucid when seen against bright lights. (Base 10, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 moving parts, +1 Size)

Notes: as Scipio's, but considering that Scipio was actually making ponies, and thus adding the size modifier (and adding a duration rank). And now that it was on, understanding that the horse size range could be between +2 and +4, and using it to get the full sized battle horse of size +3 (because a horse the size of an elephant could be quite unpractical).

Shadow Fire Tower
MuIm(Ig) 45, R:Touch, D:Fire, T:Ind.
Turns a bonfire into a small tower with 3 floors, big enough to hold a Magus' lab on the top level and rooms, some room for custos and servants in the middle level and some storage room in the basement. The tower stands in its place for as long as the fire, which is moved to a round fireplace into the top level of the tower (into the room designed to hold the magus' lab). The caster's sigil make the tower cast some smoke from its walls, and seem translucid when seen against a bright light. (Base 10, +1 Touch, +3 Fire, +2 Size, +1 Intricacy)

Notes: this is mean to be a smaller and cheaper version of Conjuring the Mystic Tower. The Mystic Tower adds +4 for size and +3 for elaborate design. We guessed that being glamour, the higher base already adds some base complexity (after all it's not that a Glamour spell starts being one flat cube of glamour...). The idea is to use this spell after casting a D:Ring, T:Ring create fire spell, so the tower can stand theoretically forever (not counting that a lab accident can screw the circle and make the whole tower dissapear with a huge pop around the magus and other funny possibilities).

Shadow Tower
CrIm 50, R:Touch, D:Until, T:Ind, ritual.
Creates a tower as above, but made of pure Glamour (no need of fires) and with Until duration. (Base 10, +1 Touch, +4 Until, +2 Size, +1 Intricacy)

Notes: it's somehow unsatisfying that creating a smaller glamour version of the Mystical Tower is 15 levels higher than actually creating the bigger (and rocky) mystical tower. It would seem fitting that giving that the spell have the until condition and the Vulnerable Magic flaw, the ilusory tower, not constrained by actual rock limitations (like weight resistance, ability to support itself and so) should be cheaper than the real tower, but the base of 10 plus the modifiers magnitudes are killing the spell. In fact that's why we came up with the previous, 'fire-fueled' tower version right above. The only other way to make this tower happen seems to be to create it as a constant enchantment (wich would be CrIm40 with D:Sun, and +4 levels to make it triggered twice a day at sunrise/sunset), but it laks of the 'until' story opportunity.

Ball of Shadow Fire
CrIm 20, R:Voice, D:Mom., T:Ind. Creates a Glamour Ball of Fire which inflicts +10 Damage on impact. Being Glamour, only Imaginem Art helps Parma (if you use it against other magi, which we don't encourage, of course) against it. (Base 10, +2 Voice)

Notes: the character obviously wanted this spell to do the +30 damage of the BoF, wich would unbalance things quite a bit. After some fist fighting and skull knoking we agreed that Ignem is Ignem and everything else does less damage, so if Fire does (base level +5) Damage, everything else could do as much as (base level) damage. We agreed about letting him add extra magnitudes to create the glamour ilusion of strongest fire, so a 30 level version of this spell could do +20 damage, for example, but I still have some doubts about this (despite he argued that it would mimic somehow the damaging faerie effect, which would probably fit into a faerie thing like Glamour).

Shadow Dragon
CrIm 45, R:Touch, D:Sun, T:Ind . Creates a small (size +4) dragon made of Glamour. The dragon have wings and is able to fly (and a quite cool ride) and maybe can breath fire. The dragon uses the stats of faerie dragons on RoP:F, page 99.
(Base 10, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Size, +1 moving parts, +1 Intricacy, +1 Extra complexity)

Notes: this is the big one. The character is dying to go around riding a black, smoky and slightly translucent dragon, but he wants it to be able to breath fire, and I'm not so sure about how to handle it. Considering that the base level is 10, I'm inclined to let the dragon breath fire doing +10 damage to Voice range, as if the spell were a pretty complicated version of the Ball of Shadow Fire above, but I'm not so sure about how to handle penetration: would it be the spell's penetration? Should the dragon have Faerie Might of its own? Should we add complexity magnitudes to allow it? And what about physical attacks, should the dragon use the stats of RoP:F, or assume that we should change the faerie dragon's brawl pretense (which is not stated in the book but should be in the 3-5 range) with the caster's finesse? I'm somehow inclined to letting this spell run on the powerful side of possible choices, as after all is an 9th magnitude spell, and you can fry someone with pretty much anything of 7th magnitude, and this spell, being D:Sun, is like a 7th magnitude spell extended to Sun duration...

Shadow Room
MuIm 40, R:Touch, D:Conc., T:Room. Turns a room into a Glamour, which allows the caster to alter it's shape, design and such as will, not being limited by the room actual shape, location or physical constraints, so the caster, for example, could open a pit on the ground that doesn't access to a lower level, or open a window or a balcony in a wall that faces solid rock, move windows and doors around without changing where they lead, increase the ceiling height without messing with higher floors, or even remove it to resemble an open sky no matter what is actually above the room. (Base 10, +1 Touch, +1 Concentration, +2 Room, +2 movement controlled by the caster)

Notes: this is based in Scipio's Botomless Bag, but we are not sure about how to handle or manage the caster to make changes in the room: we included the +2 for movement controlled by the caster, which should cover it and replace flexibility modifiers used in other spells that allow changes in their effects. We maybe should add another magnitude for complexity, but being 8th magnitude as it is I think it may be enough already.

Shadow Path
MuIm 40, R:Road, D:Sun, T:Ind. Turns a path into a Glamour, which can be altered and modified by the caster at the moment of casting. It can turn it into a loop that looks like an straigh line but runs in circles, make left turns actually lead to the right, change the appareance of the path borders to resemble cliffs, forests and so on, go up when it's supossed to go down and so on. The spell ends if anyone in the path crosses one of its edges. (Base 10, +2 Road, +2 Sun, +2 Size)

Notes: the caster wanted a spell to make forest paths run in circles and lead to unexpected sites, or make them run through thick dark forests and so (well, to make them like faeric paths, after all), or act as traps making people in the path run in circles without noticing, and so on. There are some issues here: Road is a range, not a target, but we are actually turning Road into the target, calling it Ind and giving a +2 size (which could be a big lenght boost, as paths are mostly 1-dimensional). The second issue is that the caster have to actually stand in the path to cast this spell, which the player would prefer not to do. And maybe we should add a +1 Part magnitude to affect just some path's lenght, and not the whole of it. We let things loose anyway granting the condition that the spell ends whenever anyone leaves the path.

And that's pretty much all of it... the resulting spells are quite powerful, but have pretty high levels in return. So what do you think of these? And do you have examples of other Glamour spells, or any idea on how to handle them properly?

I will just comment on this one regarding how to handle Penetration. I remember reading on this forum as proposal that I have so far adopted for my game:

  • if the duration of the spell is Inst (for example a magical animal created as a ritual with virtus), then the creature has it owns might and is used for determined Penetration;
  • if the duration of the spell is anything else, then the main spell Penetration is the Penetration of all subsequent effects - it is the mage's magic fueling the effect.

Now regarding damage ratio vs spell level, consider that this spell offer a flying mount, a body to soak damage, plus a source of unlimited Ball of Fire. All wrapped into one CrIm spell, without any requisit, for the small cost of one round casting. Pretty neat, would you not agree ? There is no canonical 9th magnitude non-ritual spells allowing you to do all that. I would suggest you do not allow it to enchant it into a magical item with high Penetration bonus, combining Controlling magic to have a portable army of dragons... it could go quickly out of hand.

Well, the army of dragons sounds quite terrifying but should be easy to avoid from the SG perspective: Dragons use to be quite territorial, and that's why you usually found them alone, not in groups. I guess that the moment this magus created two dragons, they would turn against each other right away and bit each other to pieces. Even if he adds another magnitude to mentally control them, he could only focus his concentration in one of the spells at once, and the other(s) dragon(s) would jump to the restrained one's neck. But about enchanting this into an item, items are always dangerous; Incantation of Lightning is 10 levers lower, which means that by the cost of enchanting one of these dragons per day you can enchant a lightning with unlimited uses (or 24 uses per day with target group, to go around frying ten targets per round), and after some penetration boosting you can have your brand new lightning machine gun, which would be as much as a shredder if not more (after all you could use it closed quarters, while dragons require some space). But that's why God created thieves! May any magus create such a dangerous artifact, and from there everything is fun; the next Tribunal meeting can be quite a circus when someone talks about why three covenants and five villages were absolutely destroyed and about the fact that the quaesitores found a certain magus sigil all over the place.

The penetration handling sounds quite reasonable.

The bigger issue is the fire. I agree it's too much, but I can already hear my player yelling that what is the point of creating a dragon if it can't roast things. And if I say 'well, there were dragons that didn't spit fire', I know his reply 'yeah, but I want to create the ones that do!'

You can offer alternative to damaging fire: what about blinding fire ? or cloud of impenetrable darkness ? It fits possibly better with the Glamour/Imaginem theme. I know that Glamour can make thing as real as they can be, but Faerie magic might have to bend to comply to some "story rules". Maybe the mage needs to identify a Shadow dragon first and can only replicate one that he has see (Faeries are notorious for not being able to make true invention/artistic creation, but only mimicking).

Or you put a twist to the Fire: it can do more damage than +10, but the person has a chance to "disbelieve" it or see through the Glamour. It is not MR, but a straight Stamina (or Perception) roll to just nullify the effect. Or carrying some cold iron or other anti-faerie talisman grant a significant soak bonus, or even immunity. It will still be powerful against unprepared opponent, but if they survive the encouter, they might be prepared for the next round.

It is not in the rule, but neither is Fire-breathing, flying, elephant size, Shadow Dragon in the guidelines, so .

Maybe applying the rule of improvisation match (You cannot say "No", however, you can say "Yes, but...") could be a way to meet your player expectation mid-way and strengthening the Glamour aspect of the spell.

Everything you said fits (except maybe the option to disbelieve the fire: more on that in the next paragraph), but that's just perfect for the magus' in question sigil.

Hmmm, I also remember having read that many people believed that glamour wasn't really deadly, and thought we could just let the spell burn things to let them go back to normal after the spell ends, but that, and your suggestion of allowing a Per or Sta roll to realize that that isn't true fire lead to the same problem: it could be used too against the Dragon's physical attacks and go against the whole point of Glamour (which after all is a Major Virtue!... and comes with Vulnerable Magic, which can always help to defuse the dragon).

So darkness it is.