Spells exceptae

I posted that on the french Ars Magica forum and would love to have your opinions. It's a work in progress and need a lot of fine tuning.
Ideas and advice welcome :smiley:


Forty years ago, a magus by the name Falinus Ex Bonisagus decided to explore strange and bizarre effects in the Hermetic Theory. He had spotted the fact that numerous spells vave effects tha do not comply with Bonisagus's theory, and began searching for a way to document and unify a way to use them. He met with numerous sorcerers both inside and outside the order to study those spells and effects
After years of study and research and numerous failed attempts his breakthrough is finally ready for full disclosure to the order.
He called those peculiarities excpetae and created a way to use them in spells, he descovered quite a few of them but many more must be waiting fo be found.
By 1220 his dicovery is the talk of the houses, propagating slowly in the order, the Ductus Arcanorum has just validated it and tractatus are being copied.


You just need to learn a spell, read a book or study with a teacher knowing them to use the exceptae. You can only use them with formal spells and you can't use more absolute value of exceptae than your Int+Magic Theory divided by 3. Magnitudes of exceptae add to the magnitude of the spell.

Penetrating spell (+x)
For every Magnitude of this exceptae the spell gain a +10 Penetration bonus.
You can't have a Penetration total included in a spell that exceed your Penetration score x5.

Silent spell (+2)
This spell oes not require the caster to speak

Stealthy spell (+1)
The spell can be whispered without penalty and cast silently with a -5 penalty.

Still spell (+1)
This spell does not need the caster to move.

Aimed spell (+1)
The spell is not affected by the Magic Resistance of the target but require a contested roll of Per+Finesse against Defense or Attributes + Skill of the target.

Scalable spell (+1)
Some details of the spell can be change at the moment of casting.

Multiple spell (+1)
The spell has a distinct additional effect, he use the highest base of his effects and all Arts become requisites.

Fast spell (+3)
The spell can be fast casted.

Linked spell (+2)
The spell is an Arcane connection to a specific target, beut only for casting it. You need an Arcane Connection to the target at the time of the spell invention, the spell as a Pentration multiplier as that Arcane Connection -2.

Dodgeable spell (-1)
The target can avoid the effects of the spell with an Attribute + Skill roll ease factor 9 or an Attribute or Personality Trait roll ease factor 6.

Limited spell (-1)
The spell can affact only halef the targets or lass that it should be able to affect, or works only hal of the time.

Specialised spell (-2)
The spell is designed to affect a specific individual, you need the individual or an Arcane Connection at the time of the spell invention.

Minor material spell (-1)
The spell require an easy to find and carry item that is consumed at spell casting.

Major material spell (-2)
The spell require an expensive or difficult to find or carry item that is consumed at spell casting.

Unstable spell (-1)
The spell has two more botch dice in case of botch test.

-----------------------------SPELLS -----------------------------

Curse f the werewolf Mu(Cr)/Co(An,Me) 25
This spell works only at night, it transform the target into an hideous half-man half-wolf beast increasing size by +1, strenght by +2 and decreasing quickness by -1. in addition the target grows claws and fangs (as daggers) and an unstopable crave for human flesh (has a personality trait of +6.
Base 5, Touch +1, Sun +2
Multiple spell +1x2, Limited spell -1

Stone dagger Cr/Te 20
Hurl a stone dagger to the target, she can avoid it by a Quickness + Weapon/Brawl ease 9. in case of failure damages are +20.
Base 15, +2 Voice
Dodgeable spell -1

Last resort of the flambeau Cr/Ig 25
A flickering looking ball of fire is thrown at the target, damaes are +20 with a pentration bonus of +20. In case of disaster 4 more botch dices are rolled.
Base 15, +2 Voice
Unstable spell -1x2, Penetrating spell +1x2

So your final spell hass a different level and has some of these effects with it.

I belive that penetration is already too easy in Ars 5. This lets you get penetration baked in to the spell. I see that the level rises by five and you get +10 penetration so a net gain of +5. I think that this would have deleterious effects on the game making parma and magic resistance worth even less than they presently are.

Why would you not just cast a lower level spell and take the -10 to casting total? this one is a wash.

as are these. I suppose the final spells would be harder to dispel as they are higher level, but also much harder to invent and learn. I don't see to much of a point

So we can now bypass magic resistance at will with any sort of a spell? Once again I would not choose to include this in my games.

So you research a spell that can have either of two different ranges durations, targets or base effects? It is a bit unclear

so you've got two spells that are unrelated that cast at the same time. such as I multiple spell unraveling the fabric of parma magica and a rego mentem, or veil of invisibility and a short range teleport? It seems a low cost for such a big deal.

research the spell at three magnitudes higher and you can fast cast it without any mastery ability. This seems OK.

So your spell can target a specific individual that it was invented for at range AC but without an actual AC? that seems reasonable.

I assume that this can only be applied to spells that actually target things that can dodge? Do you have a metaphysical argument for why this could be (I.e. you couldn't invent a dodgeable perdo herbam spell because plants only rarely have te ability to dodge?) it might work from a game balance perspective but I have a hard time with the how it could exist in the setting.

these are two different things. effecting only 1/2 of a group (+1size modifier) would be the same level as target group but have a target 5x's the size. Balancing might be a fatal flaw in this one. You are effectively make a whole mess of new target categories with the first option.

These are ways to get more penetration. Giving the magi more ways to increase penetration does not appeal to me.

I see how you want to work this, but even if you iron out the balance issues, giving these options adds more complexity and makes the spell mastery rules (that I'm very fond of) less appealing. I don't think that they're for me.

If you want to get penetration from your lab total, use a charged device instead.

And Erik is right, penetration is too easy these days.

Tellus, are you telling me you haven't house ruled penetration for charged devices? Why not? They're the single most clearly unbalanced thing in the entire game.


Well, it makes the spells as penetrating as the magic items so no balancing issue here in my opinion :slight_smile:

Because spells with this kind of advantage already exists in the game ("The Kiss of Death PeCo 45") and there are no rules to invent them.

Same here ("Black Whisper PeMe 40")

Same here ("Sling of Vilano"), and any troup should ask for justification before allowing this.

no changes in base, target or duration, but a spell that can change you in either a wolf or a bear is allowable.

Because spells with this kind of advantage already exists in the game ("Ice of Drowning ReAq 35","Preternatural Growth and Shrinking MuCo 15") and there are no rules to invent them.

Thx I find it troublesome that some spells need to be mastered to be useful ("Wizard's parry").

Yes, and I think it's a quite cool effect :slight_smile:

As any spell vice if it doesn't limit the usefullness of a spell it should not be alowed.

Well, I was not clear : a Corpus spell that only affect children, a Mentem spell that only affect men, an animal spell that only affect wolves.

Nope, they are ways to do cooler effects at lower level by limiting your spells, incidentaly that is increasing your penetration.

Thanks for taking the time of reading me, you could use them as inspiration for your experimentation results :slight_smile:.

Qute agreed, and we really should. But we do try to keep away from house rules as much as possible.

Magic item penetration isn't as high as this (baring charged items and effect expiry both of which are admittedly abusive). a Magus needs to exceed the modified level and then accumulate points equal to the modified level. Paying only one level for two points of penetration doesn't make items better than spells.

I'd put this as a result of experimentation not as an optional add on.

Sling of vilano is a specific tacti. Thsi allows one to bypass magic resistance with any spell including rego mentem spells that force the target to suppress their parma and perdo vim spells to bring down parma. This is a big change that makes magic resistance less powerful.

Ice of Drowning should probably have a muto or creo requisite to make the ice but creating something that you have control over should require a level and a requisite. It doesn't need new mechanics. Preternatural growth and shrinking does either or not both at the same time.

What do you find troublesome about it?

I'm not asking about balance, I'm asking about an in setting explanation.

I'm afraid of folks using these for effects that are very possibly less cool because they're obviously designed for minmaxing to the extent they cross the lines into poor taste.

I think that a game where the magi have more power at lower art scores isn't something that I'd aim for even if I'd get a systematic way to add cool restrictions. Perhaps if you'd raise all of the guidelines by a magnitude then you'd get your coolness and keep player power at a level that's more compatible with typical Ars Magica stories and settings.

If I want to create a Pilum of Fire lvl 25 with 10 Penetration (lvl 30) effect in an item, in one season I need a Lab total of 60.
If I want to create a Pilum of Fire lvl 25 with 10 Penetration (lvl 30) spell with the vice, in one season I need a Lab total of 60.
The same between spell and item you see ?

And I prefere other ways to make flavorful spells than dice rolls.

In rules terme there is no difference between one and the other, in universe time I would ask for the player what is his "tactic" to bypass magic resistance.

You are probably right about Preternatural, but I wouldn't call the Requisite system a suficient mecanic, what I am trying to accoumplish with this is expending on the diverse legacy spells with mecanics.

It's stupid, that you need to master the spell for it to be useful.

No, you asked for both, as for the latter :
Resistsing to Mentem effect with Personality Traits is flavorful
Dodging spells already exist ("crest of the earth wave", "the earth split athunder"), and make a lot more sens than an auto aim spell with no intellego requisite

The funier is that I get a lot of hate on the French Board because apparently I want magii to be less powerful.
As that last sentence is a little, vexing and a matter of taste I won't answer :wink:

I don't see, the spell gets the benefit of the caster's penetration score, a stress die and stamina, the +1 bonuses from loud words or exaggerated gestures, talisman attunements, spell mastery, virtues such as life boost, cyclic magic, special circumstances, and method caster among many others, it can be boosted by arcane and sympathetic connections, it can be boosted by vis, it can be boosted by wizard's communion, the spell gets better with the caster's art scores while the item does not.

The situations are not at all the same.

It makes sense in game that a thrown rock is not stopped by magic resistance, It does not make sense that a rego mentem spell can not be resisted without defining magic resistance significantly differently. What do you expect the player to come up with. I like cool explanations but this is wide open for abuse. I don't think it is worth it.

I understand that you don't like it, but"It's stupid" doesn't really make what is bad about it clear to me. You don't like that magi can create spells the require mastery to be really useful? I think that this is a fairly cool option that I wouldn't want to be made superfluous.

There are other options to Wizard's parry (like here https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/personnal-wards-soak-parry-blah-blah-blah/7949/1) it is the sort of spell that is used as a fast cast spont put into black and white so it can be read, I wouldn't expect to many other magi to learn it.

This makes casting a spell quickly, which can be done in several different (IMO) cool ways (mastery, quick items, environmental triggered items, waiting spells, on rare occasions, spells with weird parameters such as until if used creatively) significantly easier and (once again in my opinion)less interesting.

Lab total : Int+Te+Fo+Aura+Ma The
Cast total : Ene+Te+Fo+Aura+Dice (6)

Begining Magus :

Ene, Int = let's say 0 for both
Aura = 0 for cast (most of the time), 4 for lab minimum
Te/Fo = 10 each
Ma Th = 4, minimum for a serious wizard

Lab Total = 28
Cast Total = 26

Spell level 20 (without Penetrating spell) = Pentration 6, Invention in 5 seasons
Spell level 30 (with twice Penetrating spell, the max for someone with Ma The 4) = Pentration 20, can't invent it

More Experienced Magus :

Ene, Int = let's say 0 for both
Aura = 0 for cast (most of the time), 4 for lab minimum
Te/Fo = 20 each
Ma Th = 6

Lab Total = 50
Cast Total = 46

Spell level 20 (without Penetrating spell) = Pentration 26, Invention in 1 season
Spell level 30 (with twice Penetrating spell, the max for someone with Ma The 6) = Pentration 36, , Invention in 2 seasons

Really Experienced Magus

Ene, Int = let's say 0 for both
Aura = 0 for cast (most of the time), 4 for lab minimum
Te/Fo = 30 each
Ma Th = 8

Lab Total = 72
Cast Total = 66

Spell level 20 (without Penetrating spell) = Pentration 46, Invention in 1 season
Spell level 35 (with three Penetrating spell, the max for someone with Ma The 8 ) = Pentration 56, Invention in 1 season

So we gained 10 penetration for a spell that can't be cast without penetration so is more suceptible to negative aura modifier. I don't see how this is game unbalancing.
As for the difference with the items : inclusion of penetration in items gains from lab bonus (quite huge), shape and material, magic theory, lab aura, lab assistant... etc... etc...

Well, we disagree, you could say that so spell is so subtle that it gets past magic resistance but leaves way for the target to resist. That's up to each troop, but I wouldn't allow it for most rego mentem effects.
And i spoke in RULE term so no inside game logic just plain old logic/balance.

I don't see whe you couldn't include everything for the spell to be useful in the spell, from my point of view you should.
Mastery is unbalanced and boring in my opinion it's a skill that gets more powerful with each xp you put in it.
The level 5 of mastery is significantly more powerful than the level 1, a lot more than say the level 5 of simple weapon compared to the level 1.
for exemple :
from 0 to 1 : +1 casting total, -1 botch die, Fast cast
from 1 to 2 : +1 casting total, -1 botch die, +1 Penetration
from 2 to 3 : +1 casting total, -1 botch die, +1 Penetration, 2 more occurence of the spell
from 3 to 4 : +1 casting total, -1 botch die, +1 Penetration, 1 more occurence of the spell, and cast without movement
from 4 to 5 : +1 casting total, -1 botch die, +1 Penetration, 1 more occurence of the spell, and cast silently
That is what I call unbalanced :slight_smile:

What is a quick item (i don't know about it) ?

I love the fact that you only answer and quote the parts of my post you fancy answering :slight_smile:
I'll take it as a sign that my arguments are unstoppable !

The first issue with this is that you're oversimplifying the effect of XP, or at least overpowering them. Let's assume that this is a magus who does not have Flawless Magic.
First, your example doesn't clearly outline what mastery abilities he has at each level, so I can only assume you're adding in the following order
Fast Cast
Multiple casting
Still Casting
Quiet casting (which you need to take this one again one to be truly silent)
Now, this is a total of 75 xp spent to achieve this level of mastery. This isn't an insignificant amount of XP. This also means that a character spending this much XP in spell mastery is not spending it somewhere else, such as Arts, or abilities. Getting to a mastery score of 2 is relatively easy, 3 requires some dedication, 4 and 5 require a strong focus on getting there, and some amount of sacrifice on other things. Even if we assume that half the experience points to get to an ability score of 5 come from tractatus, and the other half from adventure (or practice) than it's still a lot of time spend to improve the mastery ability for 1 spell. Assume 4 tractatus, granting a total of 38 xp. The other 37 xp needs to come from adventure or practice. Since both are basically 5 (max adventure xp to any ability/art is 5), that's another 7 seasons, and throw in a couple of exposure here and there, just to bump it 75 xp total. That's 11 seasons to get an ability score of 5 in spell mastery. Over a long career, it's a drop in the bucket, and he could do other things that could be just as "powerful" and "unbalancing" during those same 11 seasons...

I do have a problem with multiple casting, especially when compared to Quick Casting or Precise casting, or even Quiet Casting. Multiple casting probably should be taken additional times to represent the number of copies of a spell, especially if they all have an individual penetration based on a single roll, but that is slightly beyond the scope of this discussion.

You are comparing lab totals and casting totals, you should compare penetration totals:

For your young magus example, given your casting total and lab total the level 20 spell has a penetration of 6+ stress die + penetration score (lets say 1 for a young magus). So an average penetration of around 12.5, raised to 14.5 with words and gestures. For the device 16, if it useable only one time per day. If the caster wants to do anything to increase the spell level like vis or arcane connections or ceremonial casting coupled with waiting spell or having a friend use wizards communion then their penetration will average higher. Alternately, if they choose to cast the spell say three times the chances of them not getting better penetration than the single fixed use of the device is fairly small.

For you extremely old magus example, your lab total is 72 so the level of the lesser device is 36 (they need to double it to enchant it in a season) this means that they can get a penetration of 32. Their casting score is 66 so their penetration is 46 (casting score - spell level)+ stress die (average ~5.5)+ penetration (lets say 5). So 56.5 much better than what their single use lesser enchanted device could get.

I didn't work through your middle example. I'll presume that the answers lie in the middle. From your example it is the devices that are weaker not the spells, yet your option strengthens the spells not the items.

It is an option for an enchanted device in HoH Societates in the Flambeau chapter (and I'm not at all sure that i recall the name correctly. Serf's parma, but I believe that you can use them with the speed of a fast cast spell.

I just continued on the parts of the discussion where I think I have feedback that will still be of value to you. I'm not interested in arguing about things where we understand one another and disagree. You can take the sections I don't fancy responding to as me not believing that anything I write will make you think differently, (and I trust that if I have a strong argument I could make you see things differently ergo I don't have a strong argument).

Of course this does make my posts read as if I'm the sort of ill tempered grump who's not only interested in disputing everything you write but also in kicking your dog. That was unintentional.

@Jonathan.Link : I don't think I simplify it, and the way I presented things is intentional it was to ouline a simple fact :
If I increase "Simple Weapon" i get :
0 to 1 : +1 Attack, +1 Defense
1 to 2 : +1 Attack, +1 Defense
2 to 3 : +1 Attack, +1 Defense
3 to 4 : +1 Attack, +1 Defense
It's fairly consistend, the cost increase with each level but I gain the same thing with each level.
It's not the case with Spell Mastery each time I take it the next level becomes more powerful.
Conclusion : It's overpowered.

That was rude of me sorry :wink:

As for the rest, for the sake of showing that it is true that it increase penetration a little I was comparing spell with and without the option I proposed (Penetrating spell).
And as you can see, you gain 10 penetration for an old magus, but you abandon the possibility of casting the spell without penetration.
I included a limitation in my original post.