Spell for consideration

In one of my games, one of the players wants a PeTe spell with duration to destroy weapons that try to strike him (rather than ward, destroy). He came up with the following and I was curious what people think?

The Arsenal Asunder
Whilst under the influence of this spell any metallic or wooden object moving at speed that strikes the casters skin will shatter - the fragments rapidly crumbling to dust - leaving the caster unharmed. It does not protect his possessions or clothing, so clothes will still be split etc. The spell will only protect against limited numbers of attacks per round, a couple of dagger blows, or one sword, meaning that a concerted assault can still overwhelm the caster. Similarly, slow moving objects, such as a dagger slowly forced into the flesh, will be unaffected by the protection.

base 5 - destroy a metal object
touch +1
diameter +1
individual +0
req: in +1
req: he +1

Make it Rego instead of perdo and you have a Dune force field :stuck_out_tongue: Sounds weird, but cool. However, reminds me more of SciFi than medieval stories.



LOL@Xavi :laughing:

I had the same first thought reading the OP "the slow blade penetrates the shield"!

I like it but i would do the same with:

    • the In requisite : i only need to destroy all the metal or so unnaturaly shaped approaching
    • the +1 for He requisite, because just the requisite is good : without the requisite, the "ward" will do the most importnat part anyway
  • +1 magnitude for complexity because of affecting only unnatural metal or other kind
  • +2 magnitude for group because i want to affect more than one individual
    For a PeTe(He) 30

I don't buy the Group designation. If you can Rego Ward without a Target of Group I fail to see why you would need it for Perdo.

If you wanted to wave your hand and destroy a bunch of swords then you'd need Group, but that's not the target - the target is the Individual casting the spell, not the objects it affects. If this didn't have the In requisite and was phrased as a curse (destroys everything the target picks up or handles) you wouldn't need Group on it.

It's an odd one, alright, but I think that mean_liar has it right - an Individual target should do, for the same reason that other types of ongoing Perdo spells don't need a Group target. A PeTe (Sun) spell that creates a hole in the ground keeps destroying earth that comes into the area of effect, no matter what the original target was.

Also, I don't think I'd go ExarKun's route and base the effect on whether the objects being destroyed were 'unnaturally shaped'. I'd keep the In requisite, but have it determine the speed with which the objects are approaching. That way you don't need an extra magnitude for complexity (though that might still be called for as you're basically targeting an area the size and shape of the target, rather than a particular object).

Something I was thinking about recently while trying to design my own version of this effect was whether the weapon(s) would survive long enough after touching the target to do any damage. You could chuck on a Re requisite to stop them dead as they touched the target, thus avoiding the issue, but that adds further magnitudes to the effect.

I thought about it for a while but could never decide whether or not it was necessary. In the end I decided to turn the spell into a Momentary effect in an item that was triggered by a variant form of Shriek of the Impending Shafts - as soon as the item 'hears' a weapon approaching, it's destroyed, like a magically flawless, 13th century point-defence system.

No, that is the Target; the "target" is not the caster - not in that sense.

(Urgh... are the authors reading this?...) :imp:

As always, there are two senses of the word "target" - one is the victim/recipient of the spell, and the other is the Form that the Technique is affecting; one is the intended center of the spell effect, and the other is the actual Form that is being manipulated. One meaning of target is the intended Location, the other is the Object of the spell effect.

Any time you are casting a Form other than Corpus or Mentem (and sometimes even then), the "Target = location = recipient" of the spell, and the "Target = What the Technique effects" of the spell are different.

The Caster chooses the beneficiary (or victim) of the spell, the location of the effect - here, that's themself. The spell is cast at Range:Personal, so the effect is centered on the Caster. In that sense, the caster is the "target", the intended location, where the spell is intended to operate. The fact that the caster is an "individual" has nothing to do with the spell being defined as "Target:Individual".

Why? Well, for starters, because the spell is a Perdo spell. What is it Perdo'ing? It's Perdo'ing its Target - here, Terram and/or Herbam. (And last I checked, and despite the rumours, magi are not Terram or Herbam in this sense.) This is the sense of "Target" that we are concerned about, what is being "Perdo'd", what is being affected by the spell. (The caster is not being affected in this sense - the weapons are being Perdo'd. The caster is protected as a result of the spell, not Perdo'd by the spell effect.)

"Perdo" = "I destroy". What do you destroy, Mr. Caster? Surely not yourself!...

(And if we increased that parameter, from "Caster", what is the next step up? Range:Touch. The "target" does not increase in this sense, it merely moves. So this does not address the question of "What is destroyed?" Because the target is what is being destroyed, in this sense of the word.)

So... the Perdo is destroying its target - and its target is defined as... Individual. Not Group. One individual amount of Terram or of Herbem is destroyed, as defined by the Terram or Herbam Guidelines.

Sorry, but that much is inarguable, even if it's confusing. The "individual" person of the caster is not a concern here - that's just the Range of the spell, where it is operating. The spell effect is to destroy something, and that something, as defined by Range/Duration/Target, is... (say it with me)... "Individual".

Agreed? (I hope?...)

The problem arises with Duration - over Duration:Diameter, how much is destroyed? Just one Individual amount of Terram or Herbam, total? Or up to one individual amount every round, for as long as the spell lasts, a sort of Herbam/Terram chipper, if you will.

One could argue that the spell destroys one item, and "keeps it destroyed" for the Duration... but, imo, that makes little sense. Why would anyone want that here, except in rare circumstances of regenerating swords? Does it merely become identical to a waiting "Momentary" spell, that destroys only the first amount that comes in contact with it?

The more liberal interpretation is the only one that, effectively, "improves" the spell for the extra magnitude.

So, the spell destroys the Target (one individual amount) every round, for the duration. The effect is centered on the mage, the caster. If two "amounts" arrive in one round (of either Form, two total), then only the first is destroyed, and the second gets thru... until the next round, when it might get destroyed if it's the only one there then.

And we have our spell.

~IF~ the design was boosted to Target:Group, it would not affect the caster and his friends - because the Range is still Personal, and we are not Perdo'ing the Caster and his friends, we are Perdo'ing the Target. So, it would then Perdo up to 10 individual amounts of Terram or Herbam in one round.* That is where "Group" comes into play.

(*Or, if you do not agree with the "amount/round" interpretation, then up to 10 amounts over the Duration of the spell.)

In addition to what others have said, the Intellego requisite is redundant. There is a temptation (brought over from earlier editions) to add an In requisite to make a spell "intelligent". This is not born out by the rules, and I'm not sure what its function is supposed to be here.

As a base assumption, this spell would IMO destroy one object per round, regardless of its size. T:Group would be required to affect more.

The issue about speed of movement would not be included in the base assumption either, so I would add a complexity modifier to allow this. So the level ends up the same, but there's one less requisite.


There is a similar spell, Treading the Ashen Path (PeHe 30, ArM5 p138) which destroys trees in a radius around you. The range there is a little odd, since it uses Touch despite affecting things 10 feet from you. I keep meaning to suggest a new range - Aura - to account for this sort of thing. Either way, the concept of a magus whose touch withers weapons seems a fine one to me, if perhaps a little tricky to pull off.

As I remember only ward spells have the ability to deflect attacks automatically.
The spell you made is not able to do this. It would destroy items you concentrate. Spells in theory are not intelligent things.
So I would use a similar ward spell as a base and would add +1 complexity affectioning only quick moving objects and a Pe requisite for destroying the items.

I am privy to the original thread where this spell was discussed, and the original premise was to identify weapons vs non-threatening tools, tho' I think that with the "speed of approach" concept that is, indeed, superfluous.

I think that to do it without the Re requisite will still take a Minor Breakthrough, but check this out (echoing Birbin again):

Destructive Defenses
Re(Pe)Te(He) 20
R: Per, D: Dia, T: Ind

(Base level 15, -1 Diameter (Wards are base Ring), -1 Personal (Wards are Base Touch), +0 Individual (Wards are base Circle), +2 requisites, +1 complexity)

You'd need to add an In requisite and +1 magnitude to be able to block attacks you're unaware of.

It uses the rules on Wards (p114 of the main rulebook - especially note that a Ward affecting just the magus is a -1 magnitude), treats them as special to Hermetic Theory.


I was looking at Ward against Wood.
BAse 15 +2 for sun but there aren't any level reduction using personal Range.

It addition I think it is better if the spell protects against every quick moving object because a falling wooden block would hurt, too.

Wards defend against everything you don't need an In requisite.

Could the user of that spell wear metal armor or use weapons himself?

Terram wards only work against objects you can detect. Not sure about the others (check Rego Terram guidelines in the main book).

Also, the reduction to magnitudes is because Wards are assumed to be R: Touch, D: Ring, and D: Circle (check Wards in main book, p114). The example given under the Wards entry is that a Personal range Ward could last for a Moon duration without affecting magnitude.

Isn't all the wards working for ALL the attacks , when you are or aren't aware of?

But for this:

i would say because wards are not fully hermeticly integrated in the MT.
(i think its quite explained in HoH S for Ex Mex)
Then, i'd go for a group because i want to have all the weapon approaching me in a same round to be destroyed.
SO =>
destroy metal base 5
+1 touch (for all the metal i touch, or, using it, all the metal touching me)
+1 diam (for the effect being of use for 20 rounds)
+2 group (for 10 swords/round, which are, according Edge of the razor, Terram individuals)
total 25. Lol, same that a common ward(circle and so one). Funny.

And all the metal touching me (basically wanting to cut/strike/hurt) vanish, with a great limit of 10 weapons by round... but i count on my grogs for not being the target of more than 1 or 2 escaped enemies... so it would be fine.

I don't need other things like Int or so, because (IMO!) when metal hit me, it is immediatly destroyed, doing no damage.
And no need, in fact for Herbam because, one, i have a good chain mail made by an excellent rego magus, two, other than the staff, i dont see any wood based weapon where the wood is doing the damage (its maybe a player flaw, there ^^). And, afterall, i want to use my base soak of 21 sometimes... lol.

But, thanks for the idea, because if i am quite a Perdo master, rego's aren't my favorite spells

Feel free, anyway, to criticize my idea.

Hello all - it is my spell idea at the top of the thread - thanks for all of the various thoughts and inputs. I'll reply to some/all of them here...it might go on for some time. Apologies.

The spell as posted was specifically designed to only handle an "Individuals" worth of incoming ordnance per round (1 sword for example), since I couldn't quite stretch to making a "Group" target spell that I could reliably cast. Since it seems that most people are of the opinion that the various req's (In specifically) are unnecessary, then it gives me a bit more freedom. I'm also pleased that some (all) of you picked up the Dune reference - sadly my Im skills are lacking so I can't go for the glowing shield effect. Boo hiss. As you have probably all surmised the spell is intended for use by a Perdo specialist...why deflect when you can destroy?

@ExarKun - I agree about the He req seeming excessive because not many weapons damage you with the wooden part...but actually most weapons that have wooden hafts - especially spears - don't just attack with the pointy end, it would severely limit the wielders moves to consider just using the edge/point. Plus, it would help when in the presence of lumberjacks.

@Cuchulainshound - I totally agree with your post. Well put and reasoned sir. As you say, the tricky part is the ruling of 'does it destroy something every round for it's duration'

@Mark - interesting comment about In. I hadn't really thought about that (in a general sense), I am still a little mired in 3rd Ed thinking. That one comment will have lots of implications for future spells of mine I think.

@JeanMichelle - yes the caster could wear metal armour, use weapons etc. The spell (is meant to) targets appropriate Targets that are moving quickly. The use of weapons could be tricky, since an SG could easily rule that without a more fancy effect (more magnitudes....urk) the spell couldn't distinguish between 'incoming' and 'outgoing'. Not a problem for the character it is designed for, he has magic, who needs swords? Similarly if he picked up a spoon it wouldn't vanish, but if someone dropped an anvil on his head it would shatter (well....with Individual Target a bit of it would, then the rest would squash him...you get the point)

@mean_liar - you know the score anyway! Treating them as altered wards would probably work, but isn't what I am trying to do (since my Re is poor).

In summary - I'm not trying to game the system here or be a munchkin - it just seems like an obvious application of a Pe specialists Arts, but I am still not sure that Hermetic Theory will quite let me achieve it.

Thanks again for everyone's input!

I've allways had the impression that a spell needs an actual target*, wereas this one seems to be picking up targets as it goes... Basicly it is working as a maintained watching ward...

To me, this would have been a better as a magical item with 2 effects. One intellego to detect the metal, and another Pe to destroy the metal approaching.

Oh, and in any event I'd suggest you invest a little in size increase - most swords are bigger than 1 cubic foot. Either that, or up it to part, so that you'd at least get som of the bigger metal items. (like the anvil you mentioned...)

  • wards seems to be a special case, but I kinda feel that they are using a special target type ("outline"), based on circle rather than a real individual... This allows them to simply prevent a particular type of stuff from crossing outline, but doesn't really allow them to affect it in any other way.

Actually, most swords are less than a cubic foot. Let's go with a big one, the claymore. It is about 6' long * about 4-5" wide (let's call it 6" or 1/2 foot for ease) * about 1/4-1/2 in thick (say 1/2" thick for easy or 1/24 a foot.)

This makes it 6' * 1/2' * 1/24' or about 1/8th of a cubic foot of metal. Even being pessimistic and saying it is double that much metal, you still only have 1/4 of a cubic foot. This is math for greatsword, the largest of the swords. Maces are likely to use more metal actually but still less than cubic foot.

That's simply not true. The Base 2 effect is "conscious control", but the Base 5 effect covers anything and everything.

Wards are a special case of Rego against the Form. They have unusual rules. But not every personal protective spell is a "Ward" in the same sense as is covered on page 114.

Self-immolation would stop most attackers - but it's not a "Ward" in that same sense. Circling Winds of Protection is a Rego spell, but is not a Ward - you are not warded against Aurum, but the winds sweep away physical objects.

A spell that uses Perdo to destroy objects that touch the caster/target of the spell, or Muto to change objects that touch the caster/target, are not "Wards" in the same sense as the Magical Wards that are found on page 114. For one thing, Wards are Range:Personal - these are not. They are just magical effects, and, imo, should be treated as such without confusing apples and oranges - they're both fruit, they're both edible and delicious, and they can be treated the same, but they are not automatically so.

So, anyone can use the Wards as a model for other effects and choose to treat them the same - but understand that they are not, by definition, one and the same by the rules. Wards, as defined, are not Perdo, or Muto, or even all Rego effects - they are very specific and very narrow in their definition, as presented.