Transforming Mythic Europe Herbam guidelines


An issue I see: Page 120 A Harvest of Figs says "It can affect a tree up to Size +6, about 25 feet tall (a base Individual of Herbam is Size +3)." The main book on page 135 says "A base Individual for Herbam is a plant roughly one pace in each direction." I don't see that the errata cover this spell or the Herbam description so these two statements look to me to be in opposition. Could this be like bird Size where bird mass doesn't add up to its true size so add a level of Size (or maybe it was subtract, I forget)? So an Individual of Herbam can make a tree of Size +3?

I'm inclined to ignore Transforming Mythic Europe in favor of the main book. Any thoughts are appreciated.



RoP:F lists (insert on page 49) Size +3 as 10’ – 13’ tall, though animals are not usually that big in all three dimensions to reach it in one. 10' in [strike]each[/strike] direction isn't far off "roughly 1 pace in each direction." The same insert says Size +6 is 22' - 28' tall, so 25' tall is right in line with that. The spells that target trees using T: Individual in the core book all include "+2 size" to enable handling large trees. This spell includes "+1 size," but doesn't work on much taller trees. I just can't see the problem you're saying exists.

10' is a pace? How tall are you?

One pace... one cubic pace of material... compared to a 3m/10feet tree... I don't think one would get a cubic pace of material out of a 3m birch or spruce... thats a tiny tree, masswise.

Oops. Typo. I explained it and then wrote it wrong. I'll fix the one word above.

Here are the calculations: 3 ft x 3 ft x 3ft = 27 cubic feet. That's 2.7 square feet of area for someone 10 ft tall when examined as a prism for simplicity. Based on an "ideal" body weight, a person a third of that height would have a volume of about 3.5 cubic feet or a base prism area of 0.54 square feet. Scaling those up would give our person a volume of 12 cubic feet or a base prism area of 1.2 square feet. So the cubic pace is one the right scale but slightly larger, which works well to also account for animals that aren't as elongated as people.

As I said, I don't see the problem.

One pace in each direction is roughly 8 cubic meters, if each direction refers to front, back, left, right, up, and down (~4 m^3 if spherical). If that were supposed to be the total (compacted) volume of the tree, that's pretty big. In general I don't think size has to be a linear progression.

Unless I'm greatly mistaken, a pace is supposed to be approximately one meter, making one pace in all three dimensions roughly one cubic meter.

A pace is ill-defined, but we have several places in ArM5 implicitly defining it to be 3 feet, meaning 1 yard or 91.44 cm, meaning that a cubic pace would be about 0.76455485798 cubic meter.

Not to be too much of a pedant, but "each direction" does not generally (or in linear algebra) imply moving only in the directions of a cartesian coordinate system. In linear algebra, taking a pace in each direction from a given point in 3-dimensional space is actually a sphere. Colloquially I doubt that you would let your children cross a road without looking in all directions, meaning both left and right (and in some instances also front and back), instead of just right since that happens to cover the cartesian basis vector for a line. Hence, as described (front/back, left/right, up/down), colloquially a 2x2x2 cube with volume 8 is also reasonable.
If you prefer a yard,feel free to adjust accordingly. In either unit, that's a factor of 8 increase (or 4 for going from unit cube to unit sphere).

Sure, a sphere is quite reasonable.

However, if you're trying to be careful with the language, when you measure something physical's size you measure across it, not halfway across it. That would be the diameter of the sphere, not the radius of the sphere. Same thing with cubes. The common terminology for a cube would be "one pace on a side." That would be a 1x1x1 cube, not a 2x2x2 cube.

Now, though, let's pay particular attention to how ArM5 actually uses its own term. 100 cubic paces of solid wood seems to be the limit for +2 size. +2 size means we've multiplied by 100. (Greater volumes require less density for the same sizes.) Divide by 100 to get 1 cubic pace of wood as a Base Individual. So it appears the authors were using this to mean a cubic pace, or the volume of a cube measuring 1 pace on a side.

Hmm, seems I've misread the spell modifier "size" for the Size statistic, kind of. I got confused. Anyhow, thanks for the explanation. That helped.


Each Form has its own size of an Individual. You can then add magnitudes to multiply the size affected by 10. See the "Sizes and Targets" box on page 113. Group would seem like an oddball, only 10 times an Individual with a two-magnitude increase. But Group let's you target a larger Individual or many separate Individuals, the option for splitting it up essentially costing one magnitude while the increase in size costs the other magnitude.

To be careful with language, aka semantically pedantic, ArM5, page 135 under Herbam Spells says verbatim: "A base individual for Herbam is a plant roughly one pace in each direction[.]", which clearly inscribes the plant in a sphere, because the pace is extended in each direction. Whereas what you are proposing should be "a plant roughly one pace across in each direction," which no longer extends the pace to the direction, but describes the measurement of the extent of the plant in each direction, which happens to be a pace, resulting in a sphere of closer to half a cubic pace.

I like the ~4 cubic paces for a plant, not so much densely packed, but like a bush or a small tree whose crown spans about two paces across. If we allow the multiplier of 10 to apply to the volume, then +2 leads to a multiplier of 100 resulting in a tree whose crown is ~10 paces across (in each direction). If it applies to the radius or diameter, there'd be a tree 200 or 100 paces across, respectively.

it is standard when measuring volume to refer to height, width, and depth as being directions, so your wordplay to try and octuplet the volume of a plant is rooted solely in ignorance, though I suspect this is more an issue of rules lawyering rather than actually being ignorant of the intent of the text.

I think (pure speculation here) that the issue was that the author thought a standard individual of herbam as a solid cube of wood one pace on a side rather than a plant that was roughly one pace in every direction. I'd think that a plant of that size would weigh less than a 100 kilos while a cube of wool might weigh close to 1000.

considering that some of these guidelines go back to 1st edition I suspect the original author simply didn't give it much thought beyond looking out the window and figuring that described most of the well trimmed manicured bushes in a suburban area.

Mmmhhh... I won't agree with you.
A spell with "Group" allows you to target up to 10 targets of "average" Individual size, Individual size being specific for each form. (+2 level modifier from Ind)

To target a large, single target, it would require an area of effect of Ind, with a +1 modifier as size modifier.

Although of higher magnitude, the first spell would not be able to affect a single, large target as it is designed to affect multiple "Ind" size targets, not Large Ind. I guess it is a troop agreement, but considering how specific are spell's parameters, there is little flexibility without the appropriate Hermetic virtue. It also gives a nice advantage for those selecting the Giant Blood virtue (immediately balanced by the disadvantage when it comes to healing spells).

Better check this with ArM5 p.113 box Targets and Sizes once more.


My mistake, I should have waved my serf’s parma :slight_smile: