Spell validity/balance check

So I'm playing a magus with deficient perdo and a magical focus in corvidae. That leads me to some convoluted ideas to emulate perdo spells with muto.
The troupe is fine with It but as the player creating It I fell like I might have made too many approximations.

I'd like to get an effect similar to the pit of gaping earth with additional benefits if I combine It with another spell.

the spell is :
Telluric flock
MuTe(An) 30
The dirt in a circle 6 paces across transforms into a flock of crows, flying away, leaving a pit 9 feet deep. If the target area contains material other than dirt, target materiel is not affected.
(Base 5 +2 voice +1 part +1 size +1 diam)

It seems fine at first because the effect is lvl 30 while the original PeTe is Lvl 15 but the number of birds created in the process is enormous : If all the volume is dirt and I make a rough mass conversion It's like 50000-70000 crows... A volume conversion from dirt to crow would lead to a lower amount but still in the tens of thousands birds.

Assuming 300 crows for the group Target (mass of a pony) creating such a large amount of birds with a Creo Animal spell (30000) would require a spell of lvl 40 (base 10 + 1 touch + 1 diam +2 group + 2 size)..

1/ Would you rise the level to 40 ?
2/The base of the spell to 10 for a final lvl of 35 ?
3/Do I need a rego requisite for the crow to fly away or the fact that the crows are piled would compel them to disperse as a natural behaviour ?
4/What would happen at the end of the spell ? I assume the dirt turns into dust making a dust cloud and falls to the ground ?

Assuming I'm using a second spell to control the birds created this way (like Commanding the harnessed beast from Arm5 core p120 but target group and size +2 for a lvl 50) I would assume they're a legal Group for the group target.
5/Do you agree ?

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You're limited by the guidelines at each end. So yes, the second version with group and size is what you need. I think its fair to say the birds would naturally start flying, but whether they fly away without rego is a different story, yes. You may need a requisite. Also when the spell ends, you will have dirt raining down where the birds were ^^ I'm not sure why you would raise the base to 10.

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Thank you for the reminder of the rule principles.

The crows is a nice touch, and fits with the focus. Have you thought of using muto to turn the dirt into air, for concentration. Then drop the concentration when someone falls through it? Lower base, I think. Or simply using Rego to scoop it out.

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The auram idea is one I also like quite a lot to the point that I almost made a magus with the elementalist major hermetic virtue to use the trick, but this character has 0 auram and 17 animal with a fitting focus so that's actually easier for him to develop the lvl 40 spell than the lower MuTe(Au) spell.

As for scooping I'll have a look at it.

A 9' deep pit filled with compressed crows, with no gaps between?

The top layer fights to spred its wings and fly off, followed by the second layer, and the next, then the next, etc. with none crushed below?

Just my personal take, but I would suppose this is a slow pit digger, converting clods of dirt into crows one at a time, giving each newly formed crow time to spread its wings and begin flying as the next clod of dirt transforms.

Otherwise I suspect you will need the Rego requisite, if you want the efficiently space-filled packed mass of birds to fountain up and spread apart enough so they can spread wings and fly almost simultaneously.


A slow pit digger is logical but losses the purpose of the initial spell, no one's ever going to fall in it.

Would you make it a free requisite (the spell still transforms dirt into crows) or a paying requisite (the purpose of the spell is to make a pit It doesn't work if the crows die, crushed in the lower layers.) ?

Certainly not a free one. It would still be a pit even if it is full of dead crows.

The obvious choice, I think, is to Muto into quicksand, or liquid, or even air. Crows make a better spectacle, but as a combat option it is not ideal.

Maybe you can look at the other way around, something like The Earth's Carbuncle ?

Make the earth fly into the air, thus creating the pit, and then transform said flying dirt into birds ?

It would need to be much more violent than the Earth's Carbuncle to create a big enough pit, but it should work considering the levels you can achieve.

Quite funny to talk to you on a forum my friend :wink:

That's a neat idea !

I'm afraid I would have to fast cast the second spell to change the jagged stone into birds before they change back into dirt otherwise the group target would probably not apply or I could extend the duration of the spell to diam to ensure the jagged fragments stay that way long enough...

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Muto can make big things small, so the birds created do not need to be the exact size to fill the pit. That would make the spell more difficult of course.

As others have mentioned, that's a lot of mangled and/or dead birds unless you do something special (such as make less birds). It also means you wont get the outcome wanted. The at least 3 to 4 feet of dead crows piled on top of each others is going to make a somewhat scratchy but also somewhat softer landing than intended.

If your focus is purely a skill in manipulating corvidae all good. If you have any issue with Corvidae suffering, that spell needs a radical rethink.


As I see there should be no problem for the spell to work layer by layer? It doesn't need to transform all of the earth in crows at the same time, it can go from top to bottom in a reasonable rate. No additional requisite or magnitude should be needed for that.

This might make the pit easier to avoid, but wouldn't make the transformation extremely slow (and albeit the pit itself might be a bit easier to avoid, if you are creating it under someone that person should have some trouble to escape in the midst of hundreds of crows).


I'm I see no valid reason for the crows to end up stacked in like Amazon packages - I'd definitely allow the crows to just... explode out of the ground as they flee the confined space (especially if someone is stumbling into it) and other than some amount of birds getting crushed as the poor sod crushes them, the rest should flee around everywhere. I'd allow the spell to work as normal, except for possibly reduced falling damage as the Crow Cushion slows his fall slightly.


I'm not sure I'd reduce the damage, actually. Yes, it might slow the fall, on the other hand, being caught in the middle of a flying murder of crows ought to result in a lot of scratching at a minimum. Otherwise, good points.

Shapeshifting doesn’t really need to conserve mass so no real reason you can’t just turn all that dirt into a single normal sized crow, raven, whatever.


I was working from the limit of essential nature.
As is, the Muto has chaged Terram to Animal at its specified level.
If the dirt in the pit-to-be was closely packed, then a simple Muto should retain the "closely packed" state.
Unless extra magic is added - Rego to separate the close packing, or an extra level of Muto to cause shrinking or something to loosen the packing.

Perhaps I lack a sufficiently Mythic mindset.

That's actually a good point, my reasoning is flawed from the beginning because of this. That gave me some interesting spell ideas, thanks.

of course, if you Muto'd the dirt into flying corvids, most of the volume of the pit would be Air, hence an Aurum requisite might be needed.

A flying bird needing a lot of air space compares to its size, in order to flap wings

EDIT maybe the airspace could be a special effect, Nature abhors a vaccuum.
So the spell could work, but with a reduced number of birds

You don't need an Auram requisite to turn a good-sized fire into a little gem. You don't need an Auram requisite to turn a large amount of water into a little wine. I can't see why one would be needed here.


I think you should need extra Muto magnitudes if you are going to drastically change the size of the transformed thing. There are some spells that change the target into smaller creatures (eg. a person into a raven), but all spells that deal with elements seem to somehow conserve mass or volume. Transform to Water, for example, changes you keeping your mass roughly the same (1 pint of water for every pound of flesh).

I'd discuss how many (if any at all) magnitudes should be necessary with the troupe. Going by mass, I'd say none if you want to go from ~70.000 to about ~10.000 crows, but for each extra factor of 10, one extra magnitude. YMMV.

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