Spell discussion: "Meteor strike"

Conjuring the Mighty Pebble Cr(Re)Te 50
(Base 3, +3 sight, +1 diam, +6 size, +1 req)

This will create a massive boulder, 183m in diameter and will weigh 9.72*10^9kg. The idea is to drop this from a great height so it gains speed. The rego is mainly for guidance to avoid an aiming roll and not for propulsion. The cloudcover is usually at heights from 2-10km up. If we drop it from a 2km altitude (20 second fall time) it will have an energy equivalent to a 45kton bomb before impact (for reference the nuke over Nagasaki had a 21kton yield). With conservative calculations the final crater will be 100m deep and 400m across. There will also be a pretty potent air blast created which can knock down trees and buildings with degrading effect up to 2km from impact. The effect of a minor earthquake (<4 on the Richter scale) will also occur. This part isn't really devastating, but can be felt quite easily even at distances up to 50km. All in all this spell can pretty much annihilate anything it penetrates over a fairly large area.

How would your troop handle it if this spell were dropped on a maga and it didn't penetrate? Would the stone stop and then slide off to one side as it had been dropped from about the magas height? Or would the stone slide to the side and then impact with full force with the 1200m/s air blast ripping/tossing the maga? Impact as normal while pushing the maga down into the ground? Something else?

If you handle wards like absolute protection instead of soak, how would that work out?

Depending on your view on what would happen, the same situation, but this time with multiple magas. E.g. if you say that the stone would slide off and impact with full force, what would happen if a few magas stood in a circle and then stone would hit dead center and then either unable to reach the ground or impacting "a bit" before it reaches the magas parma.

I'm also interested to know if you'd force this to be a ritual because of major effect.

Just make sure you take the Multiple Casting mastery so you can MIRV the things.

Inertia does not exists. If you Rego it, it won't gain speed. Now you could Muto an air funnel to guide it or somehow control it without affecting it with magic. But it will just fall at the speed a rock should fall. Had it been metal it would prolly have fallen faster, though.

It stops when it hits the maga, doing no damage. It might crush a few buildings rolling away but that's it.

Acceleration, inertia, momentum and kinetic energy are modern concepts that IMO don't have their place in Mythic Europe. Yes we know the same physic applied then, but they did not see it that way at all.

Exactly. As far as I'm concerned, it would do as much damage as the boulder would 'normally' do regardless of the height from which it falls.


Especially considering that things fall because the finger of God push them down! (Unless you've read a lot of Aristotle and knows the stone falls toward the center of the earth because that it's natural movement)

Why would they fall any faster just because they've fallen a long way?

While that makes things less spectacular, and prevents me from designing a Level 60 version called "Tunguska", in practice it doesn't change much. The rock is 183m in diameter and weighs 9 million tons. Ouch.

I think it becomes very problematic if you don't let real world physics apply. The current understanding of the time matters how you are able to affect things, but not always what actually happens. I'm not an expert on the physics of the time, but it's quite clear that they were aware that objects sped up the longer they fell, they just explained it differently. And there were people like Philoponus arguing against Aristotle.

But let's play a scenario where Aristotelian physics do apply to the world. As i understand it the stone could instead be dropped just above the target and because of its immense weight it would fall extremely fast from the get go. That faster and/or bigger means more damage is not an unfamiliar concept even at this time (bows/catapults). So by this logic the stone would cause great damage, probably about equal to the one in the Newtonian world. :wink:

In an Aristotelian physics world you could also just create a boulder and then perdo the air pillar underneath it to create a vaccuum, in effect making the boulder move indefinitely fast, causing almost indefinite damage. Two easily sponted spells.

If there's no point in dropping it from a great height you can make it momentary and even drop the rego.
+8 size is 852m in diameter and close to 1 billion tons :wink:

As to the question about the BIG ROCK bouncing off parma, I would probably opt for the dramatic thunderous crash, pulverizing the flora and fauna and buildings in the immediate area, with a great plume of dirt and debris thrown into the sky, a tremor rushing from the point of impact, unbalancing the old and infirm and scaring the young, and as the dust settles, with pebbles coming back to earth like a fall of earthen rain to rattle around the crater, the targeted maga, standing in the middle of the chaos, turns and asks, with eyebrow arched, "Did you need something?"

Archimedes, I like that description.

Isn't that the real way how magi are supposed to handle those situations ? :smiley:

Also, you should note that damage is often not proportionnal in the rules.

To take utterly false numbers (serf's parma) as a exemple, you'll have something like "throw a stone at someone, do +5 damage, throw a boulder at him, do +15", whereas the boulder is, in fact, quite massive.

It's not x2 mass => x2 damage, but more like x2 mass => +5 damage. The scale is not linear.
IMO, this is a pretty good thing, but now is not the time do discuss this.

=> For such a spell, I'd either start with base 5, adding +5 per size magnitude (thus it'd do +35 damage), or use the "falling" guidelines on the targets, as if they'd just fallen on the meteor.

To some extent I agree that the scaling doesn't always have to match up perfectly and that we shouldn't fuss over numbers so much. In a case like this spell though it would really stretch disbelief too much if a rock that weighed over 9 million tons didn't completely crush cities, castles, and anything else it landed on. Anything else would look cartoonish to me.

I'll repeat my point from my own thread, that 10x scaling is too far out there to match other game scales. If the rock were x2 in mass then the +5 damage might feel right. When it approaches the size of a mountain, it doesn't.

When it approaches the size of a mountain, I expect Divine intervention.
Just because Magi can do a thing doesn't mean that when they do it means they don't generate unintended consequences. There are all kinds of tools the setting provides to ensure that Magi behave...reasonably.

It would impact around her, leaving a rather dazed but probably very annoyed maga.

Very problematic. I always run with real world physics, soooo much easier.

The essence of what might be said about understanding at the time is that it was mixed, and opinions on why things worked one way or another was very much not unified or singular.
Which is why i never bothered with the "it works how they think it works" because that would have physics work differently everywhere, or sometimes even from day to day.
Never encountered any reason to do things differently.

Storyteller Fiat is always an option. Unless you can find a Bible verse to the effect of "Thou Shalt Not Create Rocks Greater Than Ten Cubits From End To End" passing it off as Divine Intervention is not going to be very convincing, IMO.

Granted. However, the casting of such a spell is at the end of a long discussion, or it should be. Before the player goes into the lab to design such a spell he has to vet the design with the SG. At that point I would outline any and all concerns I could think of. Why is such a spell necessary? What effect will it have on local, regional, and even continental politics of the period? Would the Order find such a spell being cast to be interferring with mundanes? Afterall, it's going to kill a lot of them, just for simply being in the blast zone. I put it on the player, I need to be convinced why the character would design such a spell.

These kinds of spells that explore the limits of Hermetic Theory or Arts will only be developed by a few special types of characters. And if they are a Bonisagus, it's very possible that after inventing it he can't even cast the spell.

Bullets don't work in Medieval paradigm because according to Aristotles concepts of natural and violent motion, the size of a thing does more to impact the power of it's impact then its speed. The idea of motion at all comes from a sense of static vaccum based propulsion which allows continued motion.


I agree with all that except for one thing. This spell doesn't really push the limits of Hermetic Magic. It should but it doesn't. If it were Level 80 or 100 I'd scoff at it, since I can't really imagine a game where characters can develop or cast such things. Level 50 though (or level 45 if the Rego requisite is omitted) is within reach of a Covenant that makes a determined effort, at least from the way advancement seems to work in my experience. There are plenty of spells in the core book at this level or greater; none of them have such a large impact.

Hmm...a Level 80 version would be 6 magnitudes bigger...1000000 times the size of this monster rock...

And we reach the famour Hermetic Limit of Being Eaten by Dragons For Doing Stupid Things That Break The Setting and we are off to continue the saga :slight_smile:

I'd originally looked at 183m as 183 miles, silly US centricism... :laughing:

Anyway, upon further reflection +6 size is still too low for this spell. +6 size should be 1,000,000,000 cubic paces (100x100x100). We'll call 3 feet=1 pace=1 meter, for simplicity, technically a meter is a bit larger than a pace, but at this scale, it's not really worth it, and actually only strengthens my argument that the size is too low.
Formula for volume of a sphere is 4/3πr^3, or 4/33.1491.5^3=3,207,241.53 cubic paces. That's in excess of +6 size, pushing it to +7, which pushes the spell to a ritual. Or not, if you're dropping the Rego requisite.

There's still not a lot to like about this spell. Dropping something that is described as being the length of a soccer or US footbal field in length, width and height onto someone is going to cause some problems. It's likely to squash a lot of mundanes, wildlife, forests, parts of villages and make life more miserable for the casting magus. And without the Rego requisite, you need that finesse roll, and better not have anyone you like without adequate MR within range of the volume of effect.

Sure, it's within reach, but there are often better spells that benefit the covenant. Especially one like this. I typically don't like to invent spells unless I can do it in two seasons OR there is a powerful need for the spell. Again, this kind of spell is going to only interest someone who is interested in creating odd effects, a terram or creo specialist or someone who really needs it. There aren't going to be a lot of characters who fit in those molds...
That same person could benefit from creating variants of Conjuring the Mystic Tower...