Two completely diff questions

First. Our game is set in Theban Tribunal. My companion was born to the purple and thus has a "super power". As it was rolled out, it turned out to be a Major Divine Virtue. Ugh almost as bad as a Major Infernal.

(note: She is a historical figure and so I had no idea when making her of the whole Ars Magica Porphyrogenitos consequence)

I was going to go with simply giving her a Relic with True Faith of 3. Easily enough. But then I thought it would be fairly interesting to see what others would do in this situation. Situation, you made a character with the Personality traits: Relentless +3, Obsesses with Family Status +3, Cheerful -2, Resentful +2 and now suddenly you have a Divine Major virtue, what do you do?

And the other question, completely off topic.

Say you have a Level 25 Cr/Te spell that creates a cubic foot of iron completely enveloping the head of the target, The Encumbering Iron Helm, if you will.

So it's base 5, +1 for elaborate shape, R: Voice +2, D: Conc +1, T: Ind this being the lowest level spell I could think. Lvl 30 last a sun duration.

So this would more than likely require a finesse roll correct? Even though the entire spell is about placing a big chunk of iron so it is A. fitted so tight about the neck it cannot be removed and B. the actually shape around the head is not important.

I would be curious about how the targeting would work. Spells always hit their target, so if the spell is designed for the singular purpose of being a "head maiden" then would you even need a finesse roll?

I don't think Finesse is needed, given you are directly targeting the spell on Ind, and it feels within the bounds of power for the level. If in doubt add a +1 Mag to remove the need for targeting, if you're sure you want to require it. If the spell was creating a skin tight mask maybe, or if the orientation needed to be really specific.

The effect does not seem to require specific targeting, any more than many other spells which also do not need targeting. It might be considered that aiming specifically for the head of the target might require some skill, but there are many examples of targeting parts of the individuals where no additional targeting roll is needed (Spasms of the Uncontrolled Hand ReCo5 p134, Pull of the Skybound Winds CrAu30 p126)

It would be priceless to see the look on the opponent's face if a targeting roll was required, which missed...I imagine a very confused person who might not realise what the intent was. :slight_smile:

To your second question. I would rule that you definitive need targeting! There is a difference between "Spasms of the Uncontrolled Hand" and your spell. The Target of "SofUH" is the hand itself, so you don't need finesse. In your spell the target is the created iron, and to place the iron correctly you need finesse. Everything that needs some placing/special shape etc. need finesse in my opinion. If the target of you spell is directly target by the form you don't need it.


What about Ball of Abysmal Flame? It, too, is a Creo spell (creating and Individual fire), yet needs no Finesse. Your interpretation makes more sense, I grant you - but does not fit existing rules.

Still, for the above spell the placement, (internal) shape, and orientation need to be very accurate. I'd say a Finesse is needed.

Regardless, I don't consider level 25 or 30 to be appropriate for a slow death by asphyxiation + blindness + most like incapacitation. I would arbitrarily increase the level of this spell by several magnitudes; I'm thinking to level 45 or so.


I think the level of the effect should not be linked to the leverage of the spell in game setting, but linked to the guidelines. Saying its too powerful, therefore is by hand waving, is +2-3 mags higher is more like a dnd rationale. It removes the concept of using magic cleverly for great effect. You could easily however have mags for finesse replacement, and I didnt picture the box being air tight at all. Both would certainly add some mags, thereby making the overall spell much higher - up to the SG, and the detail of the effect description.

Also by comparison the guidelines offer several spells of lower power can remove fatigue levels, which disables far faster than an iron box (the pe ig spell) on the head. And many below level 40 which inflict moderate to high damage.

While I also feel the need for a finesse roll, and thus increase in magnitude to avoid such a roll, I think by the book you could also argue against it. Sadly this is me still floundering. :laughing:

By no means is this meant as a kill spell, it is more than anything a incapacitating spell. The tightness about the neck is simply to keep it from being removed and not so tight as to strangle; however, at about 400 lbs, I can see where the block of iron suddenly appearing on the head would be harmful if not deadly.

This may prove a problem itself.

On second thought Yar and Widewit are correct; you'd need targeting. I remember now a spell (somewhere) that created a boulder above the targets head, and certainly needed a Finesse roll. The head maiden is probably as complex, if not more in terms of position.

The idea is similar to PeIg20 Cloak of Darkness (MoH p132). Note that without enough Penetration, targetted magi will not feel the weight and, from previous threads, some would say that breathing won't be a problem. It might even be impossible to form the sphere around the magus head or hamper him in any way. "If it worked so well, everybody would do it."

Yeah it could never be a serious spell to be used against magi, but it was design mostly as a flair for a Terram heavy mage to basically hinder the movements and functionality of a target regardless of the nature of the being, human, animal, faerie, mythic beast, ect.

Unfortunately with something weighing anywhere from 200 to 400 pounds, it might actually do more damage than simple hinderance. I was hoping for something that would encumber sight, movement, and sounds, as well as voice all in one spell.

I had imagine the visual begin a series of streams of iron flow from the ground snake up and surround the head of the target and then bind into one solid mass. The target could not see, be heard or hear except for the loudest of sounds, and would be suffer a encumbrance penalty.

I should figure that out as well. So a full suite of armor, sword, and shield gives you a load of roughly 9 or 10. Weight wise, it would be what maybe 100 to 120 pounds of material. Giving a total burden of 4.

So 400 pounds of iron about the head or let's say 300 to be easier on the poor chap. 300 pounds would give a load of 25 to 30. A burden of 6 or 7, though I would make it a burden of 8 simply because of it's placement. With a burden of 8 most characters at best will have a encumbrance of 4 or 5.

Useful if you are putting it on say a charging bear or war horse or a giant blooded man with a anvil splitting hammer. Even they would have a Encumbrance of 2 or higher if you had used the full 400 pounds in the making of the spell. Not bad for a level 30 spell that can be used on anything or anyone.

The difference IMHO between the enveloping chunk of iron and the BoAF is that the fire will burn you any which way it hits. But the iron helm will only be useful if places fairly precise, plus you want it to form a tight enough fit around the neck to prohibit simply pulling it off. I'd say targeting is needed.

For the Major Divine Virtue, I'd consider Greater Purifying Touch (your choice of disease). While it's generally weak enough in game terms, it can be parlayed into some major political power as a sign of divine favor... Or Guardian Angel if you enjoy having an extra conscience explain exactly why you should renounce your family and the world and for work only for the Greater Glory of God :slight_smile:

As for your helm, I see no need for aiming roll (keeping in mind that any spell that does not require an aiming roll must be subject to Magic Resistance, AM5 p.86, Aiming). If, however, you want that cauldron to actually fit closely enough to need a blacksmith to remove, or worse to form an airtight seal on the neck, then you are clearly coming into the following territory (AM5 p.77, Creo, third paragraph):

"Artificial things, such as bread, swords and books, have complex forms [...] Creating artificial things by magic requires some skill on the part of the magus, reflected by his Finesse ability. An Int + Finesse roll is made to determine how good the created thing is."

So you need a Finesse roll, not for aiming, but to determine how closely your iron ball fits over the victim's head. I would say Ease 6 for a closed, but not airtight, helm that will need tools to remove (render the victim blind and mostly deaf, and the weight can cause Encumbrance penalties); airtight would probably be 12 or more (if the victim is already wearing something around the neck)...

Finally, if you want your spell to bypass Magic Resistance, then you do need an aiming roll, you can't make your iron-ball airtight (because it cannot press on the skin), and you still need the Finesse roll to see if you manage that tricky 'can't fit the head through the neck hole' part.

A name for the historical figurwe so we can google it, would be helpful, I guess. :slight_smile:

Yopur characteristics:
Relentless +3
Obsessed with Family Status +3
Cheerful -2
Resentful +2

I guess you are a Commenos?

  • Some kind of divine wrath or anti-supernatural touch would be good.
  • Inspirational if you are leading people to support your side (or to smite your enemies) make it apply to supernatural beings as well to make it a major virtue
  • Aura of rightful authority. Golden aura et al.
  • Make your psalms hurt the unbelievers (a version of PeCo torture, sensory magic range)
  • Guardian Angel
  • Visions, enemies, higher purpose, driving goal and delusion fit as well
  • Sense holy and unholy, automatic version (no roll needed)
  • heal something by touch
  • Death prophecy (cannot die until you totally vanquish an enemy of your family)

Loads of options

Very short backstory:

Eirene Angelina was born in the Porphyry Chamber to Alexios III Angelos and the true ruler of their Empire, her mother Euphrosyne Kamatera. She grew up in the wealth and finery of the Palace of Bucoleon, learning that true power is never what it seems. The treachery of Constantinople court, sent her family into exile, fleeing to the Arab lands. Though young, Eirene never forgets the meal wherein she sat at the feet of Saladin himself and her the voice of a true leader of men. Eventually, her cousin took the throne and her family returned to the Byzantine courts. At the age of fifteen, Eirene was married to a close ally of her father, megas doux and commander of the Navy, Andronikos Kontostephanos, as a foundation for the eventual assent to the throne of the Emperor, orchestrated by her mother. Though over forty years separated their ages, Eirene bore him two sons. Two sons that at the age of seven and four, she was forced to watch be blinded, along with her husband and his two prior sons, after her husband's failed attempt to overthrow the tyrant Andronikos Komnenos. She is widowed a few weeks later and returns to her families care.

Never one to fail to find triumph in the midst of defeat, Eirene is once again sent by her mother to marry a powerful and heroic figure to help Alexios III gain the throne. This time it is to Alexios Palaiologos, who is five years younger than she, and a champion of the Empire. He is forced to divorce his own wife for the sake of being named Despot of the Byzantine Empire, but does so and the two are married. Though short lived, Eirene enjoyed the few years as Despotess (heiress-apparent). She gives birth within the Porphyry chamber to a daughter, whom they name Theodora.

Within a month, her husband Alexios is dead, and within a year, she is again fleeing Constantinople, this time never to return.

The Fourth Crusade ends her families power and sends them scattered across the Aegean. At first she accompanies her father and their family treasure to Mosynopolis, but with so many arraigned against them eventually she leaves her parents. Eirene settles herself on Nisyros, there with four blinded sons, now men, and her daughter, Theodora. More than connections, and gold, and allies, it is Theodora, porphyrogenita royalty, that is Eirene's greatest asset.

It has been six long years, made even longer by the rustic and spartan nature of Mandraki, but Eirene has not lost Euphrosyne's vision. Nor her mother's determination. She has lived in relative safety, being far from the Latin courts and under the protection of her brother in law, the Emperor of Nicaea, but soon that will come under duress and she will have to stand on her own prowess to maintain the family line.

Bravo! That sounds like a very interesting character!


The fascinating aspect is that we start our game in 1217, and the truly interesting thing is that while her history is set in stone by the writings of historians, from about 1208 on she is a mystery. That is until her daughter marries, and her grandson becomes the founder of the most successful line of Emperors of Constantinople. (about 200 years I think). I get to play a character who's greatness is in the past, and her future is basically the hardship of caring for four blinded sons who if they leave the island will be killed, and yet focused on marrying her daughter back into the courts of the Empire so that her family name can return to greatness.

She is this focal point of history which hardly anything is known about. The fact that she lived in such wonder and splendor, even sitting at Salindin's feet, finally to arrive on a small island and never to call any other place home. Because she will never be great, and playing that aspect of having fallen so far... I just love her as a character.

Not to mention, I literally have from 1217 until 1223, to figure out how to get her daughter married to a Archduke in Nicaea, and all this as a companion who is at odds with our PC magi. As a matter of fact I think in our game at least two of our companions start the game as opponents to the magi. Such a exciting game!