Terram Magic


I'm running an ArM campaign and one of my players, who happens to be a terram specialist, wants to take a spell that would allow him to create a sort of temporary golem. I'm inclined to allow it since it would seem similar to the spells that create undead servants in corpus. However, seeing as (a) I don't own the The Mysteries (revised) and (b) none of us have ever actually played, I was wondering if someone could give me a reality check on what should be possible.


Hi temeraire! Welcome.

This is why I love Ars Magica. Almost anything is possiable. Worthwhile? Not always, but magic can do almost anything.

First off, I'd say we're looking at a Rego Terram spell, of base level 3 (pg 155, Control or move dirt in a ver unnatural fashion). Since a "dirt golem" is of little or no use, you'll want to add +1 magnitude for stone (level 4), +1 magnitude for percision(level 5). You'll want to use the range "voice" probally (+2 magnitudes, level 15), and the duration of Concentration (+1 Mag, Level 20). If the golem isn't pre-carved, you'll have to increase the target to "part", unless you hope to find a perefect man shaped rock in the field (+1 Magnitude, Level 25). Finally you'll want to add Muto so the rock can be shaped into a man shaped rock, if you don't pre-carve (+1 Magnitude, Level 30).

What do you get for all that magical power? Well, an animated stone man is going to be almost invulnerable to normal weapons, say 20 soak. It's going to move slowly (much slower than a man can move), and hit very hard (say, half the magnitude, +15). I'd let it attack at the wizard's unarmed score (or Finesse score -3).

This is a pretty heavy duty spell for a beginning mage, so maybe he might want to start with a Momentary spell to make a dirt man leap out of the ground at a target for a round to distract them.

Good luck!

Thank you for responding. I was imagining the spell could animate a human shaped piece of rock underground, that would then burrow its way out. This wouldn't seem to require muto. Would it require perdo to break that piece of rock off? Also, would it even be possible for that rock to work its way out of the bedrock? Since this version of the spell wouldn't use muto the golem would have to force its way through surounding stone.

Well, as I see it you have to "Muto" the rock to get it in some form that can move in a human way, otherwise you just have a chuck of earth that's rolling over targets. Just so we're clear, this effect is probally better in almost every way, except the "coolness" factor...and to most Magi, this is a pretty important "except". So you only need the Muto for the "looks like a golem" factor.

Hermetic Magic can most easily target a specific thing (thus if you were lucky enough to find just the right size bolder, you could target it without using the "Part" target). I wouldn't think this very likely "in the field" so you need to be able to change whatever earth you have at hand into a golem, thus "the earth over by my target (=part)" into "a rock golem (=muto)."

Now if you want to lower the level of the final spell, you could make a spell to create the golem, and a seperate spell to animate it. You could also have a mundane craftsman create a statue for your PC to animate at the covenant for emergencies around there.

Perdo cannot make something more perefect, like turn a stone into a statue, but it could turn "too big rock attached to the mountain into right sized rock unatached."

I should also note a Golem created in this way will have to penetrate Magic Resistance every time it swings (using the extra penetration from the origional casting).

This reminds me also that I think I was wrong about the attack roll for the Golem. A magically animated creature like this would not require a "to hit" roll. It would hit automatically, like any "direct spell". A Storyguide might allow the PC to create a spell that required a "to hit" roll and lower the spell a magnitude. Then again, they might not :slight_smile:

All this talking about "part" makes me wonder, can you Phylum of Fire the ground? It's target is "Individual" not "part". These sort of magics used to have special rules because they were "Targeted" and required an Aim roll, but now they're just like a Perdo Terram spell. The ground is too large to be affected as an Individual. I should say, I know Phylum of Fire CAN be targeted at a gigantic wall, but why?

I'd stick with the Muto requisite even if you have a nice, carved statue of stone, to allow
the rock-man (I wouldn't use golem here, that's a different creature created by Kabbalists
and detailed in The Divine) to move its arms and legs as necessary to walk and attack.

Rego would move it, but it doesn't lend the stone flexibility, Muto does, and this is IMO,
more than a cosmetic effect.

As far as forcing the rock from the earth, that would require an arcane connection--
that's where the range aspect takes effect. You affect an object within the range, and a
voice doesn't carry through the earth to the bedrock. With an arcane connection to a rock
deep in the ground, you could pull that stone up with rego, but that would increase the
magnitude by another +2, I believe. (Serf's Parma)

The spell angafea detailed is pretty good for giving a terram magus a stone servant, albeit
one the mage would need to concentrate on to maintain.


It's then a relatively simple step to enchant a statue and have it maintain concentration, so you have a stone "servant" you can order around

You'd also need to give it an unlimited number of uses per day, otherwise you'd only get
one action. This basically turns it into a stone version of the Tireless Servant from
Covenants. The level would change some, and I wouldn't expect it to be very capable of
very precise actions, and I certainly wouldn't want it doing anything delicate, but as far as
raw porter or smash duty, sure.


The target of any creation spell is the item created. In the case of PoF the target is the fire, not where you throw it.

true - mostly... 5e left this in slightly more of a muddle than intended.

Pilum Of Fire is a 5e Targetted Spell, not an Aimed Spell, so the person/object that gets blasted gets to resist the spell, and if they resist the spell fails completely - no blast of fire at all. But if they don't resist, the fire automatically appears where the person/object is, and they cannot dodge it.
If it were Aimed, the description would state it, and you'd make an Aiming (Per+Finesse roll) and an aware person could Dodge; and the fire would appear where you aimed regardless of the presence of anything there (eg the person might dodge and be unaffected, but the fire still appear).
(There are very few Aimed spells in 5e, though many spells could be reinvented as Aimed variants).

["Area Effect" fire, fog, etc is very suitable for Aimed variants...]

In this respect, the person is the spell target, but the Target is (ignem) the created fire.

True, but there are spells that are not generally aimed, but could be used in an Aimed way. For example, Pit of the Gaping Earth normally just makes a hole in the ground, but if you want to cast it under somebody's feet so he falls in, then it's Aimed.

That slightly increases the number of Aimed spells one is likely to see in play.