Wizard's Boost for R / D / T as example MuVi spell

Vespasian in https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/campaigns-active/203/1 asked to take a discussion into a separate thread, which I do herewith.

Let's take this thread.

At the end of the spell description of 'Wizard's Boost (Form)' (ArM5 p. 160) we find (underscores mine):

The three latter versions of Wizard's Boost are tmk customarily called 'Wizard's Boost (Range)', 'Wizard's Boost (Duration)' and 'Wizard's Boost (Target)'.

Looks like we ran into a mere problem of terminology. In any case we should distinguish first 'variant' from 'version' here cleanly.
We likely agree, that 'Wizard's Boost (Vim)' is a version of 'Wizard's Boost'. And the other versions described in the spell description of 'Wizard's Boost' for me are also versions of 'Wizard's Boost' - which their customary names I used above also confirm. Anyway, I do not wish to discuss the use of words any further than is necessary for a joint understanding of 'Wizard's Boost' here.

I do not quite follow what your troupe has to do with your hair - but it sounds vaguely like we agree here, that troupe approval for MuVi spells just made from the vague Guidelines is indeed needed.

Not for every argument, of which I addressed several ones. Apologies accepted.

This problem indeed has again nothing to do with Wizard's Boost'. If it has been addressed before, it did not have the deserved impact then. Otherwise I am not interested in prior art or first publication here.


Not sure about the meaning of your 'No' here. Both spells are indeed good canon examples. And 'Wizard's Expansion (Form)' is also an example showing how discretion beyond just applying MuVi Guidelines is called for.


Just to throw a little oil on the fire here:

I've played this game since the 1990'ies, and have been on the internet for about as long.
I admit my tenure on Berklist doesn't go back quite that far but still:
I've never in my life seen or heard references to 'Wizard's Boost (Range)', 'Wizard's Boost (Duration)' or 'Wizard's Boost (Target)' before.
That 'costumarily' might be limited to your locl area.

Well, a quick Google search taking five minutes finds for the 4th edition:

it also finds
in this very forum.


I'm sorry, I don't speak (or read) french, so I typically ignore pages in french.

That one I'd simply missed. Doesn't change my point much though, does it?

What about you looking up other terminologies for 'Wizard's Boost (Target)' etc. for a change? I found only one other way to name these spell versions - and it is very explicit and rather cumbersome.


Pardon, but what are you talking about?

I merely pointed out that your choice of word ('costumarily') was a bit off.
You've shown me one case of Wizard's Boost (Target) - which should btw have been Wizard's Boost (Vim, Target) f you insist on that notation.
Wizard's Boost (Form) means it would have to be eg. Wizard's Boost (Ignem) etc, yes?

This is where I run into problems. Wizard's Boost increases magnitude by 1 to bump up the power level with somewhat unpredictable effects. Then there are versions that increase magnitude by 1 to bump up one of Range, Duration, or Target. Great, good so far. Now we read Wizard's Reach and see this is exactly what Wizard's Reach is. So to my knowledge the version that increases Range is customarily (and in ArM5 canon) called "Wizard's Reach."

This now gives us an example of how we should adapt Wizard's Boost from an increase power by 1 magnitude (not very specific in my mind*) to an increase in one of the other parameters by 1 magnitude (which is more specific as far as I can tell). Thus to disregard this example of how to adapt Wizard's Boost to increase Range just seems unwise. To sum up, sure you can use Wizard's Boost as an example for these cases, but it is far wiser to do so while paying attention to Wizard's Reach because if the way you adjust Wizard's Boost for Range doesn't create Wizard's Reach then ArM5 is essentially tell you that way you're using is not what was intended.

  • I believe the not specific enough part is what requires the SG decision after spell approval, while the more specific avoids GM decision after spell approval.


PS: On a side note, I think I like "Wizard's Extension" for an increase in Duration and "Wizard's Expansion" for an increase in Target.

So far you haven't shown another - more customary - way of naming the Wizard's Boosts for R / D / T either.

Wizard's Boost (Vim, Target) doesn't exist: a Wizard's Boost version to affect the target spell's target works for any Form of the target spell. The quote for this is in the top post of this thread.

Typically yes. That's the simple, self-explanatory convention ArM5 uses on p.159ff, which needed expanding for Wizard's Boost for R / D / T. This convention is not required to understand the ArM5 rules about the workings of spells, and it is apparently nowhere explained in the rules. But it is most useful to communicate about the spells a magus might know, and to keep versions of spells apart in general.

No objection of mine to Wizard's Reach being Wizard's Reach, of course. But why do you argue most basic tautologies here?

We had that already. Wizard's Reach (Form) increases the Range of it's Target spell by one category, provided that spell is of the appropriate Form. While Wizard's Boost (Range) does the same for spells of any Form, with a reservation of SG moderation.


Thank you, most appriciated.

So, a version for each Hermetic Form, and a version for each of R/D/T.
So, what does Wizard's Boost (Ignem) do?
It clearly doesn't affect a parameter (R/D/T), so what does it do?
A spell (mechanically) consists of 4 elements and a name. These 4 elements are:

  1. Guideline
  2. Range
  3. Duration
  4. Target

Now, Wizard's Boost (Ignem) must clearly affect an Ignem spell in a mechanical way, without affecting a parameter (R/D/T), so what's left?
Or are you stating that Wizard's Boost has to be eg. Wizard's Boost (Range) (or Wizard's Boost (Duration) or Wizard's Boost (Target) - hereafter shortened to WB(R/D/T)) to have an effect?

I assume tmk means "to my knowledge"
to my knowledge, there is no costumary naming convention, and you're reading too much into this way you have chosen to name spells.
Yes, I saw the answer you provided to Tellus, including the one link internally in this forum.

  1. a single use does not a convention make
  2. there was a clear context, as i recall the discussion was purely on Vim spells, so in context the meaning was clear.

Looks like we ran into a mere problem of terminology. In any case we should distinguish first 'variant' from 'version' here cleanly.
We likely agree, that 'Wizard's Boost (Vim)' is a version of 'Wizard's Boost'. And the other versions described in the spell description of 'Wizard's Boost' for me are also versions of 'Wizard's Boost' - which their customary names I used above also confirm. Anyway, I do not wish to discuss the use of words any further than is necessary for a joint understanding of 'Wizard's Boost' here.
You introduce the concept of variants (as opposed to versions), yet do not use it, why?

Personally I believe that about half the text from Wizard's Boost is purely legacy, because it's been there since the 2nd edition certainly, more or less unchanged.

Now, I put it to you that there is no such spell as Wizard's Boost.
It has to be eg. Wizard's Boost Animal - this is consistent with how the (Form) notation is used throughout the Muto and Perdo Vim pages of ArM5, and occasional bit of other books.
I'm still unsure what you think this does, but that is the naming convention as far as I can tell from published books.

I agree that the choice of word ("versions") in the quoted bit is unfortunate, but having a word bear several meanings is not exactly a new thing in Ars Magica.

No, I think the MuVi guidelines are fine - if you bother to check the errata every once in a while to see if it has changed.
My point was that you can do nothing in an RPG without SG/ST/GM/DM/Troupe approval.
Including something as trivial as brushing your hair.

The explicit reference in Wizard's Boost to SG determination is because Wizard's Boost somehow doesn't quite conform - which is why I (and others I think) have been trying to explain that it is not a good example.

I also reject your argument that WB (R/D/T) does not take a (Form) attribute - as mentioned above, Ars Magica has a habit of overloading words. Thus the Wizard's Boost covers 40 different spells (though rather badly); each of Wizard's Boost (From)
and WB(R/D/T)(Form) - this would as far as I can tell make it consistent with the other MuVi spells.
It would also pin out that - as callen mentions above


Agreed, except that you can increase Target in too many ways:

  1. Increase by one 'step' (Ind -> Part, Part -> group)
  2. Increase allowed size (ie. permit a T: Ind corpus spell to affect a size +2 or more target, as mentioned elsewhere)
  3. Increase the size of a group (number of individuals)
  • while 2) and 3) might go together, i think 1) should be seperate, as

To me it looked (and looks) like you were moving the goal posts here.
First stating that the discussed situation required SG approval because Wizard's Boost explicitly mentions SG approval.
Then re-worked the argument into "it requires SG approval because the MuVi guidelines+errata are so muddled that all MuVi requires SG approval."
Yet when Wizard's Reach (another MuVi spell, written for the 5th edition and thus not burdened with legacy elements) you did not mention this - I took this to mean that you recognized Wizard's Reach as being fully specified and not requiring SG approval, which you later suggested that all MuVi spells would, as far as I read your statement - I may have misread, I'm not a native english speaker though.

My position is that Wizard's Boost is a legacy riddled PoS that should be avoided, while Wizard's Reach is an excellently written, clearly explaining what it does and easy to extend (using the Guidelines) to cover spells to extend Duration and (to some degree) Target.

Some of our disagreement may stem from talking past eachother.
Your insistance that WB (R/D/T) does not take a (Form) attribute, making Wizard's Boost a rather useful spell, compared to my rock-hard cerrtainty that they do require specification of Form.
Which is really the only reason I can see for why you'd care about Wizard's Boost once you've read Wizard's Reach and seen how easily it can be extended.

Would someone else please chime in here? On either side please?
WB (R/D/T), do they take a (Form) attribute?

I'd prefer official word from On High (aka Chart) but do not expect it.

Emphasis mine.
It's not a good example of how general the spell may become without SG approval - it's an example of how flexible the spell can become period.
Which is why I again ask you - as i originally did:
What does Wizard's Boost do?

I was trying to point out that (to my knowledge) there is no costumary way of naming these spells - so ofcourse I haven't shown you a more costumary convention.

I'm going to have to disagree with this - and it looks like I'm not the only one.

No objection of mine to Wizard's Reach being Wizard's Reach, of course. But why do you argue most basic tautologies here?
Because we didn't understand your problem.
Also: Go callen!

I don't disagree with the quote. I disagree with your reading of it. "Form" is singular, and "any" doesn't change that. It should have been written "all Forms" (or I suppose "any Forms" or "every Form" but those are more awkward) to do what you say. Consider the following. You are at an event are are told you may choose any prize from a group of ten prizes. Would you take that to mean you are allowed to take all ten prizes?


That's simplistic for point 1). Guidelines try to catch the important points of spells, but they cannot catch them all - hence the spell description of Wizard's Boost does not reference Guidelines, but an increase in "levels in power", "for the storyguide to determine". Of course - apart from R/D/T and Base effect - a spell can have many characteristics described in its text that are relevant for its general level. These should be referenced in their design calculations in the bracketed text at the bottom of the spell description. Look at my random pick CrAn45 'Curse of the Ravenous Swarm' and start to fantasize: "extra 5 levels of power" can mean creating birds instead of insects or a far greater insect swarm, but also more refined control or adding another requisite to adapt the swarm to a specific situation. It becomes then quite obvious why SG adjudication is required: it's like redesigning a spell.


Then let's refer to arsmagica4vf.free.fr/sort/list.php from now on - until somebody comes up with some better convention.

You'll see if you read up PeVi Gen Unravelling the Fabric of (Form) (ArM5 p.161), where the author uses variant instead of version to stress, how "a number of much rarer variants for different kinds of non-Hermetic magic" are not covered by the spell description. These variants are then taken up e. g. on HoH:S p.129, especially as PeVi Gen The Heathen Witch Reborn. So here we see, how variant can reference to spells even outside the book, requiring new rules, while version is just that: a version of the spell, completely covered in the spell description.

Whether we write 'Wizard's Boost (Ignem)' and 'Wizard's Boost (Duration)', or 'Wizard's Boost Ignem' and 'Wizard's Boost Duration', is just a typographical convention not changing any ArM5 rule. To avoid confusion, I will however stick with the already introduced convention.
Calling Wizard's Boost (Ignem) in ArM5 a spell instead a spell version is inconsistent with the ArM5 spell description of Wizard's Boost, though. The change you propose would have just needlessly ate up book space, as the spell descriptions for the different Wizard's Boost versions would have to be written separately as for separate spells. Tables like arsmagica4vf.free.fr/sort/list.php would have become an itsy tiny bit easier that way - but that was not the ArM5 authors' concern.
EDIT: There would be lots of minor consequences around spell mastery and Mastery Abilities, highly specialized dispelling and such - which I have no time to evaluate here.

With whom? I at least consider the differentiated, concise use of version and variant in the Vim spell texts very fortunate. Such editing to save space needs to be done with a lot of attention, or readability suffers.

if nothing else, the example with 'Curse of the Ravenous Swarm' above shows why the SG adjudication is needed.

To me this sounds just grotesque. And it is in blatantly obvious contradiction to the spell description of 'Wizard's Boost'.

You misrepresent me in the following, to which I will not answer. If answers are important to you, quote formally and correctly.

Well, well, well - you don't expect me to treat this as a statement to discuss, do you?

Wizard's Reach is a well written spell - and there is a reason why there are no spells without SG adjudication just increasing duration or target of a spell of given Form by one category.

Are you sure to know what you want? In the same post first calling an ArM5 basic spell a PoS, and a few lines later requesting David to sort out your head?

Wizard's Boost (Target) is clearly more flexible than all the Wizard's Expansion (Form) together - at the price of required SG adjudication.

Me? Or David? There are more technical mailing lists and forums, where there is a standard response to such a question at the end of such a thread: Read The Friendly Manual. I tried my best anyway.


No, I'd take my choice from the prizes.

If I cast Wizard's Boost (Range), I also take my choice of the Forms: it is of course the Form of the spell that is my target.


Is the following statement true? There are multiple versions of Wizard's Reach to affect any Form.


And no, I am not trying to sort out deliberately weird English.
Any other taker?


It doesn't change the fact that on the same page, "one for each Form" is used consistently for that meaning.

Now, the only argument that can be made is that even if the sentence is ambiguous, there's no way Wizard's Boost would yield a better result than Wizard's Reach. Therefore there's only one way to resolve the ambiguity.

You have to learn to reset your premise when you end up with contradictions. The awful noise of a heated argument sometimes hides that absurdity.

If you can't find a problem with my statement and you agree with your quote about Wizard's Reach, then I must take that as agreement that "any Form" does not imply "all Forms."


That was sort of the discussion I was hoping to have in this thread.
I should point out though, that that degree of flexibility kind of disagrees (to my mind anyway) with:

Why woud we want to do that?
It appears that this group is playing 4th edition, not 5th.
But even more problematic, they are making the same mistake you are.
Is this perhaps your local troupe?

Try to read what callen writes, he's usually a clever man.

I think you're reading more into that difference of words than intended.
Especially since Wizard's Boost explicitly mentions having versions based on Forms, while Unravelling has it's versions based on Forms.
I may be wrong, but i must admit i thought that that sort of varied language-use was encouraged in english.

sigh I'm really not getting through, am I?
It's not about notation, it's about how spells work.

Yes, when the MuVi spell is invented, if specific enough.
Wizard's boost is just a mess.

..as you read it.
And your reading is just as silly and grotesque to me.

In the following ? No I am confused.
If i mis-represent you in the above, my apologies - I was still trying to narrow down why we were so in disagreement.

no, that is a statement and a piece of information.
My position has rught from the beginning been that Wizard's Boost was not a good example, meaning not a good spell to extend from.
Should we wish to design new MuVi spells, I'd recommend using Wizard's Reach as the template, as it is actually consistent with the guidelines and selfcontained.
My above statement is purely an opinion piece.

My opinion: yes, lack of space. There's nothing inheirently more complicated in durations than in ranges, save that Year and "year-equivalents" must be rituals. Target has a few twists as discussed above, but really, those are taken care of when you design your MuVi spell, as discussed earlier.

Yes, please.
If no-body tells him there are problem with a specific spell, how should he know? He has enough on his table as it is, I'm sure.
If he agrees with you, I'll be surprised, but intrigued - it makes MuVi potentially even more powerful (because fewer spells will be required).
He's made curious rulings before, but we play with them.

Wizard's Boost Ignem - Target.
and yes, there are issues with Target, which is why there shouldn't be a WB (Target) as such, but seperate MuVi spells modifying Target in specific ways, as already mentioned.

Me? Or David? There are more technical mailing lists and forums, where there is a standard response to such a question at the end of such a thread: Read The Friendly Manual. I tried my best anyway.
I was asking you. i'd love an answer from Chart.
The only mailing list I know of that might be better for this is good ol' Berklist, which i thought was dead.
And as for RTFM, I have. A few hundred times in that case.
It needs a helping hand.

That was going to be my next point. If a typical magus increases Range beyond Touch, when would this suggested spell not be 10x as useful as Wizard's Reach?


Certainly Wizard's Boost (Animal) does not violate this Guideline. You are limited by adding only 5 levels of power, and you need to negotiate with your storyguide. You also forgot the last line of the paragraph, directly following the one you quoted, and which reads:

This puts the phrase before into perspective, and makes the canon spells figure explicitly as part of the Guidelines - where sense has put them anyway.


When texts get technical, you need to avoid 'varied language' in any language. Condensed spell descriptions are not art prose - but tricky for sure.

A statement? Hmm, yes. The information is smothered in the fallout, though.

Nobody forces you to use specific spells as models when you design new ones: so your opinion, and also your recommendation above, are yours and you are fully entitled to them. Why mar them with dubious 'opinion pieces', though?

Hermetic Durations provide complications you do not yet see.
In particular Ring durations form a can of wyrms: How do I determine which ring to use for a new D: Ring? Who draws it? And when? You have to handle that all in your spell description: if not, you need the SG adjudication again.

I will of course not discuss in such general terms.