transforming unpalatable food

Say a mage has a Sun duration Muto spell or spells to convrt unpalatable edibles into palatable food. eg carrion into pastries, seaweed into grapes, and so on.

I presume eating these "foods" provides sustenance. What happens when Sun duration ends?

I would imagine some potential food poisoning. But for what is actually nutritious, probably not much.

1 Like

I would extend it to Moon duration, since, as far as I understand, the food has all been digested and expelled, and there would be no ill effects. And it's just 1 extra magnitude.


I remember there was a previous thread about this.

There are entertaining consequences on how one determines what happens to consumed mutated things.

I see a few possible interpretations.

  1. Things get metabolised as what they are transformed in to.

a. For small time frames (diameter, and sometimes sun), it's fair to say not much metabolising has happened. In this case the un-metabolised items are in the persons system. For your example, the nutrition level was low, and carrion carries a risk of food poisoning, so it will be bad.
The old poison to wine Muto trick depends on this.

b. For long time frames, (moon and if cast just after sunrise or sunset maybe sun) enough metabolising has happened, everything is fine.

Some people don't like that, as it feels like a Magi is producing something permanent with magic without spending vis. Especially if the muto is high enough to turn 1 fish in to a feast for an army, etc.

We then go to option 2.
2. Things affected by Muto always change back.

On a short term level, same as option a above.
Long term it gets entertaining.
Some of the food will have been exited from the body via faeces while some will have been turned in to muscles and fat.

Do we decide parts of the person who ate the seaweed mutated to grapes has small flakes of seaweed in their muscles? If they ate a lot of mutated food, do they die of malnutrition as it turns back to something with limited nutritional value?

Lets say I muto a huge bonfire in to bales of hay, duration moon, and I gift it to a troublesome neighbouring lord with cattle. At the end of the duration, do we have burning cows, and the whole estate in a huge conflagration triggered by cow pats turning in to bonfires?

The option it metabolises and if there's not enough of the original item at the end of the duration for it to change back, nothing changes, is the best option, as the always change back option is problematical.


Increasing duration to 'Moon' will not help:
The same way a one-legged man can only be muto-ed to a three-legged wolf, spoiled food can only be muto-ed into food that may be tasty, but still spoiled.

Its essential nature won't change.

You could use Creo-Magic instead, but that would require vis, imo.


Is "spoiled" a part of Essential Nature? Even though the term was not used in the original post.

Animals like sheep, goats and cows can convert grass into meat (and sometimes milk) that can be consumed by humans for nutrition.
Presumably Muto magics can also convert grass into something nutritious for humans to eat.

But your saying it won't work on hay, which is "spoilt" grass?
Or do we need to define terms more rigorously?

I think Fury's interpretation of Essential nature is too broad. I wouldn't consider "spoiled" Essential nature.

A magi can turn a plank of wood into tasty food. Magic finding it harder to transform slightly off milk in to cheese than turning a plank of wood in to cheese feels thematically wrong.


I think this is a bad example, hay is as edible (perhaps more so) as what it started as. So it's obviously not spoiled. Also I could definitely believe that some medieval person could make the connection between the scents of hay, beer, cheese, etc, and fermentation is also distinct from spoilage(one usually hopes anyway)


Hay is even part of herbal teas, though not very tasty.

Yes, it is. You can turn vinegar into bad wine, but not into a nice glass of champagne.

Inedible things may be made to seem edible, but will not feed you.

That is part of the animals true nature, not the grasses.

Likely. "True nature" always spawns disussions.

And we have circled back to the original topic of the thread

A process more generally known as "cooking".


In the Stonehenge tribunal the same word "cooking" has the opposite effect.


Just bear in mind that Muto's very purpose is to temporarily change the essential nature of something anyway.

Nope. Hermetic magic cannot change the essential nature of something. Not even temporarily.

What Muto can do is to change a person or object into something that doesn't match their essential nature.
A man changed into a pig still has the essential nature of a man, not that of a pig, even though he has the form of a pig.

Yes, I realize my sentence wasn't clear, but that is what I meant. The very purpose of Muto is to temporarily override the essential nature of things, therefore the "spoiled food can only be muto-ed into food that may be tasty, but still spoiled." statement is incorrect. It can be muto'd into food that isn't spoiled, even if it will be spoiled when the muto spell expires.

My take on the "fat three-legged wolf" point is that that's what happens when you aren't specifically trying to overturn a trait, but just have a spell to "turn someone into a wolf".

It would be entirely possible to create a spell that turned a fat one-armed man into a thin four-legged female wolf, but the spell would have to be explicitly designed to do that - and would then turn everyone it was cast on into a thin four-legged female wolf, regardless of their original characteristics. A blind man would still turn into a blind wolf with that spell, because that wasn't specified, unless what you've actually designed the spell to do is turn everybody into this specific female wolf, in which case you'll get a lot of copies of that specific female wolf.