Variant on 'Swift Knives, Invisible' Covenants pg 96

I have, inspired by the text of the spell, envisioned it as a way to render a dead animal down into useful products in just a few seconds. However, it is PeAn (req. Rego) 40 (base 30, +1 eye, +1 destruction of selected detritus, +0 for requisite with cosmetic effects) -- and the Core Rules page 119 PeAn guidelines have the only 'Kill an animal' as a level 30 guide.

This leads me to imagine a noble hunting party (with one of the local mages along as a requirement -- the covenant needs to negotiate something from the local baron) out for the day. In anticipation of the great sport of facing a fierce Boar, the Baron has placed his group directly in the path where the beast must come, flushed by his wardens. The dogs, out front, whine nervously -- and a few of the younger members of the Baron's household grasp their spears with apprehension. The Baron is relishing a chance to face the Beast, and prove his courage while enduring the bloody-tusked wrath of the savage animal. Finally, the quarry breaks cover. Maddened by a half dozen arrows sticking ineffectually from its' thick hide, the Boar sights the group. Blood and murder firmly in its' frenzied mind, it charges -- the dogs are casually cast aside with mournful yelps of mortal pain, and the Baron braces himself to receive the massive beast on his well-planted spear. Hope and fear wash over the party -- the thick spear, seemingly so solid but moments before, now seems a flimsy defense indeed against the shattering wrath of the primal fury before them. Bare paces separate the party from final, bloody, conflict; the Baron laughs at the chance for glory... and the Boar, mid-air, becomes a pile of sausages and a couple hams.

Bored, the mage asks 'Can we go back now? That should be enough to feed us, right?'

I never realized that scenario was allowable -- but with the guidelines used, it is. This makes a 'quickly butcher this carcass' spell much more powerful (and higher level) than I really want. Would a spell which explicitly only worked on a deceased animal be more PeAn 20 (req. Rego) (base 5: Destroy an animals corpse, +1 for Rego base 1: 'Manipulate items made from animal products', +1 Eye; +1 destruction of selected detritus)?

A spell that only works on dead animals does not need Perdo at all. It would be a ReAn Craft Magic spell to turn the corpse into processed animal products.

EDIT: You would need Perdo for the destruction of the alimentary contents. However that spell overall seems poorly designed since it leans strongly towards craft magic (the work of a butcher specifically) with only minimal need for Perdo. If it is intended to work on live animals then the level will work as written, though it should require a Finesse roll.

1 Like

I very much dislike anything close to Rego Craft. Most craftsmanship is actually a composition of several processes, and I don't think a single spell should be able to manage that (albeit several spells might be able to help the process). But let's pretend I have nothing against the concept...


*Swift Knives, Invisible* kills an animal and separates the contents into piles (this separation is the cosmetic effect achieved by Rego). It wouldn't make sausages and ham without a Rego requisite including at least 1 magnitude.

The situation you described doesn't seem possible, because the spell has Range: Eye, not Range: Sight, and in general it is not possible to target with R:Eye in combat.
(This also means that Swift Knives, Invisible as written doesn't work on a dead animal, since it can't look into your eyes.)

A proposed Swift Knives, Darting from your Eyes PeAn(Re) 50 (base 30, +3 sight, +1 destruction of selected detritus, free Rego requisite for cosmetic effects) should be capable of killing by sight and separating the meat into useful products (meat in a pile, skin in other, tendons yet in another, etc). Additional Rego magnitudes to convert it into processed meat would make the spell a ritual, and therefore not very useful for combat.

A PeAn(Re) 20 (Base 5, +1 Touch, +1 Destruction of Detritus, +1 Rego requisite) should manage to make sausages out of a carcass, indeed (notice the change from Eye to Touch).

EDIT: As stated by InfinityzeN, Perdo shouldn't be needed at all as long as no killing is involved. You would want a ReAn spell with Pe requisite to destroy the detritus.

It should be Base 1 (manipulate animal product) with additional magnitudes for complexity. For comparison, base 4 (control large-scale physical movements, by analogy with ReCo guidelines) is +3 magnitudes. I think +3 is reasonable.

Then we have Base 1, +1 Touch, +1 Perdo requisite to destroy detritus, +3 Complex movement (stuff a dead body on it's own intestines). Final level 10. Don't forget you need a finesse roll.

3 Likes

To get close to the desired original effect in the story, the magi has a kill animal spell, and the spell Rafael detailed, make it range voice, master it and fast cast it. It would need an incredibly keen person to spot the 2 spells.

I suppose the original spell could be used in combination with a level 25 variant of 'Master the Unruly Beast' (page 120) {base 15: completely control an animal; +2 Voice range; momentary duration -- forces an animal to make eye contact with the caster}.

There are two canon spells in CrMe that create an urge to look at the user (Look at me and Catching the Eye) both use base 4. I think requiring base 15 is a bit much for a moment of eye contact. Just as many Corpus guidelines can be used in Animal, a bunch of Mentem guidelines should work as well since Animal covers both aspects of Animals.

The guidelines for R:Eye say the following:

It is effectively impossible to make eye contact with an enemy in combat; they aren’t looking at your eyes. It typically takes a combat round to establish eye contact with a calm animal, before the magus can start casting the spell.

It is not just a moment of eye contact, and we are talking about a wild animal, thrashing around in mad fury. I think it is questionable if the CrMe Base 4 guideline (create a thought or emotion) is enough to make a person (or an animal in the case of CrAn 4) in combat look at your eyes.

Incidentally, Look at Me has the specific provision of allowing a Sta+Concentration roll against EF 6 to resist if you are concentrating on something else, and I'd expect a harder EF if what you are doing requires high focus.

To bring a real life comparison, you have all sorts of random thoughts when driving, for example, but it is generally very easy to resist acting on them, because the cost of doing anything else is crashing your vehicle. I'd expect something similar here (the cost of looking at your opponent's eyes is opening yourself to a deadly counterattack).

But I also think ReAn 15 is too much (well, at least it will surely work). Maybe ReAn 10 would be enough to make it stop and look at you for 1 combat round??