Using Creo herbal to mature plants.

This may be a newbie question, but I couldn't find an answer in any other thread.

In the Creo Herbam guidelines it talks about creating plants and plant products. Their levels all range from 1 to 3. Obviously, these things would last the duration of the spell and would only be permanent with the use of a ritual and vis. However, starting at level 15 and going to level 40 CrHer then begins a series of "bring a plant to maturity" in decreasing periods of time, starting with a single day or night and ending with a moment. It also says in the first case, the case of bringing a plant to maturity in a single day or night, that the duration must last as long as the entire process. So, in that case, a duration of "sun."

The general rules for Creo is that no affect is permanent without vis. However, applying this principle to this set of guidelines leads to the counter-intuitive conclusion that the affect seems to get weaker and weaker as it would imply that at the end of the duration of the spell all the growth that had taken place during that time would instantly go away. So, I would use base 1 "create a plant" with duration sun and have a full grown plant ex-nilo for a single day or night or at base 15 and duration sun I could start with a plant and have a plant growing to maturity all day only to have all the growing undone at the end of the day. This only seems to make sense to me if this is an "exception" to the rule of permanence in Creo and the benefit of the higher base affect is that one can start with a plant and have all the growth remain even beyond the duration of the spell.

Does anyone have the answer to this conundrum?

There are two different kinds of Creo at work here.

The "regular" Creo, for the Base 1 guideline, creates the plan ex nohilo. At does indeed disappear when the duration of the spell expires.

The Base 15 guideline uses another kind of Creo. As the guideline says, it doesn't creat the plant but rather accélérâtes its natural maturation. The effect of this is permanent. (At least that is the generally accepted interpretation.)

I think the rationale for bringing a plant to maturity being permanent, is that the mature plant is the "better example of its kind" (page 77 of Ars Magica 5th Edition, under the Creo section).

Bringing a plant to maturity with Creo is an example of using magical creative forces to support a natural process. It's like shining grow lights on a plant, only better. Once you turn off the light, the plant remains.

This is a different process from creation ex nihilo, which does indeed go away when the spell expires, unless backed by vis.

As said above - this is improvement, and hence permanent, unlike creation ex nihilo. It falls under "Since maturation involves becoming a better example of your kind, Creo magic can make something mature quickly" in the description of Creo. Such use of Creo leaves the thing mundane, but improved, so that the rule on not creating things permanently without raw vis doesn't apply.

(Now the question is: if you can improve plants permanently without raw vis, by maturing them, why can't you improve them permanently without raw vis by healing them? Why can't you improve/heal animals this way? Humans? Ahh, the Lord, errg, game-designer works in mysterious ways.)

I note that instantly-growing plants can be exploited for economic / setting-change purposes. I'm personally fine with that. More conservative troupes might want to curtail such options, e.g. by making such spells Rituals.

An immature thing is different from a damaged thing. My way of rationalizing it within the setting is that if you need to restore something to wholeness, you need to use vis. An immature thing is already whole, just immature, while something that is damaged or injured isn't whole. Note some people with injuries are whole, and can't be healed even with Hermetic Ritual Magic. The really interesting question is why someone hasn't someone tried to do to people as is done for plants...

You could, but would simply end up with a child's mind (and experience) in an adult's body. Sure, the characteristics would be higher. But no additional abilities, and the personality would remain childish.

It would probably cause more problems than anything else.

I know! It's a wonderful story seed! :smiling_imp:

Thank you everyone, Archmagi and Grandmaster, who responded! I appreciate how many of you weighted in to establish a consensus to answer this question. It's good to know there are pretty solid answers in this game. :slight_smile:

As to the question of why if one can use creo herbam to permanently grow plants, then why not animal and corpus. I had assumed it was because herbam is a simple form, while corpus and animal are complex forms. Though, herbam does seem to be a strange boarder land between the animate and inanimate.

You can. You can age a child to adulthood via CrCorpus, but since an adult is a perfect example of a human being, at that point aging becomes Perdo since it makes them less perfect. Same with an animal. A "Mature plant" is an adult plant by medieval terms.

i always understood that to grow a tree from an acorn in a day ( or less) it is Rego since it is a natural process. Creo would create a plant but not mature it permanently without vis.

There isn't a Rego guideline for Herbam that does this, it is under Creo, though. You can, however, make a tree blossom with Rego, but to grow from an acorn is Creo.

You can indeed give a person a bonus to his healing rolls, essentially speeding up the healing process; this does not require vis, and the result is permanent. It does not improve the process as much as with plant maturation, but hey, plants can easily heal from injuries that would kill a person...

One effective way to deal with the issue, that does not change the RAW and is also well in line with the agricultural understanding of the period, is that doing that to an excess depletes the soil, making it barren and uncapable of sustaining further crops. So, you can grow a fast crop if you need to fend off a famine (or deal with an enemy raid that just burnt your crops), and you can probably double or triple the productivity of the land with some attention to appropriate manuring, but you can't grow 365 crops/year on the same patch of land.

I agree that repeatedly using the spell will deplete the land. Crop rotation was, I believe, a well-understood process in Europe by this time (I'm just too lazy to dig up that precisely at the moment).

The quality of the mature plant will also vary based on the quality and "rightness" of the land in which it is planted. If thew ground you are planting in is close to barren, you'll get a stunted tree.

After doing more research with the aid of this thread, I still don't actually see anything explicitly or clear beyond a reasonable doubt stated anywhere that some things created by creo do not need vis to be permanent.

Indeed, the strong counter argument to the notion that using creo to make an independently existing something into better version of itself is the use of creo corpus to improve a physical characteristic, or even healing for that matter. Improving a physical characteristic would certainly be making it a "better example of its kind." Yet, I don't think it is generally accepting that one can use the rather difficult level 40 base affect to permanently increase a physical characteristic without the use of vis. Or can one, in fact, just do that? And is there any hard evidence?

I'm really looking for solid statements in favor of the above announced school of thought or at least a spell proving the correctness of the interpretation. That not being available, I know something for the 6th ed. wish-list thread. :wink:

Remember that spells over a certain level become rituals, thus require vis. The vis isn't required for the CrCo effect but to power the ritual nature of the spell.


That's the key point. Making a plant grow faster does not create something new. It simply helps it fulfill its potential faster. As such, it does not violates the Limit of Creation (p.80)

Also note that the guidelines also strongly suggest that the maturity gained from the spell is permanent. After all, what would be the use of a spell that takes a day to make a target reach full maturity if, as soon as that full maturity is reached, the spell ends and the target reverts to its original state? That would seem pretty pointless.

You are right. Spells with levels greater than 50. Core book pg 114. But I could easily make a spontaneous or formulaic spell that uses the base 15 effect and is not a ritual. Like this: (base 15, touch +1, Sun +2, Individual +0) = 30. Or even this: (base 15, touch +1, Sun +2, Group +2) = 40.

I totally agree with you. The permanence of the effect is implied from the duration. But say, for instance, if one were to start with a giant sequoia sapling that was planted in spring just broke the ground, and one were to grow it to maturity all in one day, even if the soil is rich and stuff (the notion that soil quality would have an affect on the quality of the tree grown was put forward in this thread, but that limitation is not stated in the book, either) it would still seem that a great deal of wood was generated by magic. I'm not saying that absolutely, I'm just saying that reasonable minds could disagree on whether maturing a giant sequoia would imply creation ex nilo that is just more subtle and worked into the fabric. If a person didn't want to see it that way, then because this exception is not stated in the basics of Creo (pg 77) as the total description of how creo works then they would probably reject that the maturation of the tree would last, but would hold that the tree would spend a day maturing and then go back. There is strange lack of statements on the part of the authors to endorse the very possibility of what seems to be rather obviously happening in the CeHe effect in question.

As a strange corollary, in the ReHe guidelines (pg 138), another base 15 effect says that you can make a tree bloom out of season. That is also causing a tree to go through a natural process faster. Now, that would be permanent because Rego tends to be permanent. However, that being the case, you should be able to use ReHe to cause trees to produce permanent nutritious food or force the tree to go through the process of growing faster and do exactly what this CrHe effect is supposed to do.

Sure, that might be an interpretation of what the spell does. It just wouldn't be supported by what is specifically stated in that spell guideline. :wink:

And the authors (or the editor) probably felt that the guideline was clear enough and there was no need for additional explanations.

It's not perfect, I grant you. But then, it's a game about magic, so not everything is going to be perfectly consistent. :laughing:

Yes, that guideline lets a tree bloom out of season. But if it's out of season, what will happen to those flowers once they've bloomed? They will probably freeze in the cold of winter, or dry out in the heat of summer. Or won't have enough time to produce fruits before they freeze if it's autumn. So they are not going to produce fruit in any case.

Note that Rego would not be able to force a tree to grow faster in order to reach maturity, because "mature" is not a natural state for a young tree. Maturation is specifically the realm of Creo. Rego can force the mature tree to bloom out of season because it is one of the natural states of a mature tree.

But I understand your puzzlement and questions. That way of thinking seems counter to our modern logical thinking (it is). The magic as described in Ars Magica is based on some odd concepts -- derived from our understanding of a time when logic and causality were not the norm, and when the understanding of how matter, energy and biology worked was based on theories and conjecture.

I can accept those conclusions. :slight_smile: