Spells of limited versatility

How do people handle limitations in spells?

For example:

Altered Beast
MuAn, Level 25
R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind

This spell
a) turns a horse into a toad
b) turns any animal into a toad
c) turns a horse into any animal
d) turns any animal into any other animal

-- pick one...

(Base 5, +1 Touch, +2 Sun, +1 Size)

As far as I can tell, all of A-D are legal effects for the spell to have, yet it seems to be that A should be easiest, B and C equally hard, and D the most difficult.

The core book has Transformation of the Ravenous Beast to the Turpid Toad, that is effectively B, so it seems that B/C is the base level?

What are the common solutions? +1 Versatile effect and -1 Limited effect, maybe?



Or accept that 1 spell wont do it all unless you add extra levels. Making a "simple" spell so complex only a few could cast it. Instead make a few low level spells in the time it would take to make the 1 high level.

C and D seem out ruled out from this version unless you add a "complexity" factor. The animal to be changed into needs to be designed into the spell

I would probably be ok with -1 magnetude for limiting the effect (example A) for a formulaic spell yet if you open this up to spontaneous magic I think that it represents power that is inappropriate for level 20 sponts. So I would be leary of a simple add on to the guidlines

I wouldn't feel good about the example D spell at all. It is my preference that spells do specific things a spell that is is as broad as "turns any animal into any other animal" would not fit comforatbly into my conception of what a spell is.

I think I wasn't sufficiently clear. I'm not trying to make a spell that does all of A-D (which wouldn't make sense anyways, as A is subsumed by B-D, and B & C by D!).

I'm trying to figure out what prevents D from being a level 25 spell, and how could A be made a lower-level effect.

Why is C more powerfull then B?

Where do you get the requirement to specify the new shape resulting from a Muto spell? I don't see anything like that in the book. (And while I remember seeing a +1 Complexity guideline of some sort, I can't seem to find it anywhere anymore.)



Right. With spontaneous casting you can say "I change a brown horse named Fred into a black cat, which is incredibly specific so it should be really easy!"

Also, any-to-any is getting awfully close to spontaneous casting masquerading as formulaic magic.


  • base effect is always "fairly specific", in the sense of "Turns a horse into a toad".

  • general purpose effects are +1 magnitude, eg. "Turns any animal into a toad".

  • effects mimicking large subsets of spontaneous magic are +4 magnitudes, eg. "Turns any animal into any other animal", if at all possible.

So Horse-to-toad 25, Any-to-toad 30, Any-to-any 45 or impossible.

(Yeah, this goes against the book wrt. any-to-toad.)