[Spell Design] Raven Cape

I was reading Cloak of Black Feathers when I thought it would be handy to have a spell to simply produce the cloak at will. When I got done designing the spell, I found it was pretty high level, but have decided to post it anyway because I have some gripes.

I used range personal because it produces an item meant to be carried or worn.

The Duration was Sun for +2 because I thought it inadvisable to have the cape disappear in the middle of using Cloak of Black Feathers.

When I look at the guidelines for Creo Animal, it is Base 5 to create an Individual and that is a single hair, hide, or tusk (as examples). There was nothing lower. It appears that a Base 5 Creo Animal Spell can create one feather. For Creo Corpus, Base 5 creates an entire human corpse. For Creo Herbam, Base 1 creates an entire plant. Creating a corpse of an animal is Base 10. Most other Creo guidelines can produce some of their subject material at a lower level than 5. Animals are supposed to be a "lower" order than people (Corpus), I thought. It just seems odd that it takes Base 5 to produce one hair, or twice as much Base level to create a corpse. Yes, that's complaining, as this spell level seems inordinately high for what it produces.

The Size was +3 because I thought 100 feathers were too few. Although I feel that 1000 feathers would be far more than enough, there wasn't a middle ground. I did think of using Group, but that is 10 individuals, so it would only get 10 feathers from a +2 magnitude shift, less than increasing the Size of Individual by +2 (which is 100 feathers).

The hierarchy of difficulty in Ars Magica seems to be, based on the guidelines:

Herbam, easiest
Corpus, middle
Animal, most difficult

Under this, it would thus seem that raising a human would be easier than raising an animal, but somehow at the same time, animals can be raised, but humans can't (I know, the "soul" thing).

Raven Cape 40
Creo Animal
R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual
This spell produces a cape of raven feathers that the caster may wear. It is helpful when a magus wishes to cast Cloak of Black Feathers, but does not have the requisite cape available.
(Base 5, +2 Duration, +3 Size, +2 Processed)

How is making the requisite item for a level 30 spell a level 40 spell?

I am almost willing to apply several negative magnitudes under the central rule, but that's terribly arbitrary, and I would have to toss on three of them to lower it's level below Cloak of Black Feathers.

Actually, I think your spell should still have the R: Touch, you are not, after all, affecting yourself but creating something even though you are going to wear it.
On the other hand, you don't actually need to increase Size, while the basic Individual a single feather in this case, the basic Size for Animal spells is still something roughly in size to a pony (+1). On the other hand, it might be argued that T: Group would be needed (not by me actually, but this is where this particular Animal guideline tends to break apart a bit).

So if it were my design, it would be as follows:
R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind
(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 treated and processed product)

Note that you have to make a Finesse roll to determine how good the created cloak is (in Creo, you don't have to roll if you create base matter, but you do roll if the product is treated/processed).

Still obviously high level, but at least it is 2 magnitudes lower than your original version.

And there is nothing necessarily wrong having a requisite item harder to create magically than the spell that needs it. On the other hand, if you wanted to, you could actually get by with a slightly lower magnitudes by first creating a pile of feathers (T: Group actually can create a Lot of feathers) and then using Rego magics to bind them into a cloak).

Nope, range touch - the feather isn't you.

<ignoring the rest of this post, too tired for a wall of text, sorry>

Doesnt work.

Well, at the same time the base individual for Animal is "an animal the size of a pony", so it might be a single feather, but it can be a feather the size of a pony... :mrgreen:

I say, just drop all size modifiers and be happy.
The "processed product +2" part takes care of making it a cloak instead of a single feather or whatever.

So, R Touch, no Size mods, changes the spell to level 30, much more suitable and nice.

Nothing odd about that.

Lol, now i see i´m almost parroting Decallom... Oh well, you get basically the same response from 2 people, so you can be fairly sure its a decent enough solution.

That is the general base Size for Animal. The guideline in question has a specific base Size, ArM5, p.116:

I would think that the Level 10 base of "Create a bird [...]" wouldn't create just feathers with the mass of a pony.

Raven Cape is creating feathers, not ravens (or raven bodies).

Unless we're assuming Raven Cape's "processed" portion strips the feathers off of the ravens and leaves the plucked birds squawking about (or bodies strewn about).

I'm strongly leaning toward considering this guideline to be an error and that it should have been recorded as Level 2. This would be far more in line with other Creo guidelines as well as fitting more within the scope of what it is accomplishing.

Raven Cape 25
Creo Animal
R: Personal, D: Sun, T: Individual
This spell produces a cape of raven feathers that the caster may wear. It is helpful when a magus wishes to cast Cloak of Black Feathers, but does not have the requisite cape available.
(Base 2, +2 Duration, +3 Size, +2 Processed)

Regarding the Range, the guideline text for Creo Animal say most spells cannot be used with Personal Range, not all. This appears to be the case for using Personal, as it creates an item meant to be carried or worn, which is part of the definition of the Personal Range on ArM5 p.111. "[...] or things that he is carrying or wearing." Certainly the creation of an animal (The Wizard's Mount) or the projection of materials beyond the caster (Weaver's Trap of Webs) would require greater than Personal Range.

Basic Individual (which the guideline says is the single feather in this case) is NOT the same thing as Base Size. Base Size for all Animal spells is the size of a pony.

Base lvl 10 you refer to would create a bird, with the bird's feathers obviously, but it would not create just a pile of feathers. The bird's size is limited to the size of a pony, unless of course you increase Size.
And yes, I actually did assume that the treated and processed modifier would get rid of that pesky little problem that you actually need more than 1 feather for the cape (like I said, it could be argued that you actually need T: Group).

Regarding the Range, the reason it is says most not all Creo Animal spells need R: Touch or better, is because you could, for instance, be shapechanged to an animal form and use a R: Personal spell to heal yourself. Healing aside, I can't really think any other examples where R: Personal Creo Animal spell would be viable. R: Personal really means that you are affecting yourself and equipment you are already wearing. (And in here, the 'and' actually may well be necessary, I personally wouldn't even allow a R: Personal spell to for instance, clean your equipment, unless the spell is designed to clean you as the wearer as well.)

There's a much easier way to do this. Invent a R:Personal PeVi spell to cancel shapechanging magic. It's much more versatile, and it deals with the same issue since the only need for an actual animal part is to cancel the shapechanging spell. Alternatively, if you're bad at Perdo and great at Muto, you could invent a R:Personal MuCo spell to change you into human form.


The transformation spells ONLY require the cloak in order for the spell to end prematurely. If you do not want that, the cloak is totally unnecessary.

The fact is also that you do NOT need a cloak to get this effect. A single raven feather, or a hair would sufice. When you pluck out the feather from your raven body, you revert to human form.


Just throwing this out there, what kind of spell level are looking at to change say, just the coat or robe you are currently wearing into one with raven feathers?

Level 10 Mu/An

base 3: change something made of animal product into a different animal product

base 3: R: touch (+1), D: Sun (+2) T: Ind

I always get my spell creation wrong so someone check this and tell me if it is a good spell or not.

As others have said, this is wrong. It should be (Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Processed) = CrAn 30.

You could possibly argue that it should be only +1 Processed, because it is "not processed very much".

If you were going to create a CrAn spell that gave the caster wings, that would be Personal Range. A spell to create a feathered cloak is Touch (or greater) Range.

True indeed.

Looks correct. But i have to qualify by mentioning also being prone to minor oopsies...


The spell affects something outside the caster, not within or on the caster themselves, which is range:personal. (If he was already wearing it - maybe, but since it's not "on his person" when the spell is cast, it's not personal to be affected.)

Of course, houseruling diff is up to you.

CrAn is grossly over-priced imo. For example...
Winter Fox Cloak
CrAn 40
R: Touch, D: Sun , T: Individual
The is spell creates a long, full length winter cloak made of white fox furs, extremely warm and relatively weatherproof, especially to snow or ice. At the spell’s end, the cloak rots away to dust in a matter of moments.
(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +2 Group, +2 finished product = 40)
Level 40?! Are you kidding? And it's gone at sunrise/sunset? Oy. Just out of balance with anything else.

Don't worry about dropping a few mag's for CrAn - you're not alone. :wink:

It's debatable whether you need it to be Group or not. Several cloaks would be Group, a set of clothes (boots, cloak, hat, jerkin, pants) made out of fur would also be Group. If it is a single cloak, I would be inclined to say it is Individual, even though it is technically made up of numerous furs. Which drops it to level 30.

Also the guideline is +1 magnitude for treated products (like leather) +2 for a processed product like a leather jacket. I think that I would be prepared to let a simple cloak just be +1 magnitude. Which drops it to level 25.

Oh, I agree with the sentiment 100%, but the rules don't support it - in fact, they directly contradict it. The CrAn Guidelines are very specific about what "an individual" animal product is:

Level 5: Create an animal product... (Note that an Individual is... a single hide...) :confused:

Which is why I usually houserule about a 2-3 magnitude drop for CrAn "processed" products, to put them in step w/ equivalent CrHe and CrTe products.

Yes, but the RAW are also quite specific about what a processed product is. So we should read those rules too.

A woolly jersey would be an Individual processed product even though it is made up from many strands of wool. I think that likewise a fur cloak would be Individual (and supported by RAW) as an Individual as long as it is a single cloak, even if it is composed of a number of furs.


But even then, it's still high imo.

I have an ice-mage - he wanted to make a bearskin to keep warm when sleeping out in the wild (and something that would not disappear at sunrise, ahem), something he could use for himself, to trade or give to peasants he found. (He had a problem with the heat/warmth aspect of Ignem...)
CrAn 30
R: Touch, D: Moon , T: Individual
The is spell creates a treated bearskin.
(Base 5, +1 Touch, +3 Moon, +1 finished product)
When you compare this to a spell to create silver, or a magical tower, or a wooden bridge, it just seems... on a different scale.

It just means that some things are more difficult than other things.

Why is this a problem?

Because playing "wolf master" or the like becomes much more difficult than playing other character concepts that are also classical :slight_smile: THis is a problem we (well, I since I was the wolf master) encountered in our last saga. We pretty much did what is being suggested and simply reduced the base difficulty levels of the sdpells. We also went for untreated animal product most of the time.



You said it yourself - because it means that some things are more difficult than other things. And for no apparent reason except "that's how the rules read". It's the same with any rules imbalance - you can say "screw it", or you can say "that just doesn't feel right" - and 3 magi with equivalent Arts being able to Creo Herbem and Creo Terram but not Creo Animal products just doesn't feel right to me.

If Ignem attacks did Base+5 damage, and Herbem attacks did Base+5, and all the Forms did Base+5 damage, but Terram attacks did Base+25, one could say "Why is that a problem?", or one could say "That's not balanced imo."

I choose the latter.

Why is that a problem for you?

The MuAn(co) guidelines themselves don't demand that one uses a cape of feathers or animal skin, this is for flavour and I believe a legacy.

So if it becomes too dicfficult to CrAn the cape, perhaps the spell needing it needs looking at.

Or create the item with D:Diam, and just make the change within 2 minutes. After all, the cape isn't needed afterwards is it? It doesn't change with you.