Coracinet of Bjornaer, a shapeshifter

Abilities: [Scale: 4 competent, 6 mastered, 10 legendary]

Awareness 4, Brawl (includes fighting with teeth and claws) 3, Athletics (includes flight) 3, Faerie Lore 3, Magic Lore 3, Magical Shield 3, Order of Hermes Lore 3, Scribe 3, Speak Castillian language 7, Speak Latin 6,  Speak with Animals 3, Survival 4, Swim 3. Remember to add +3 to any Ability roll in woodland.

Combat: Your Brawl score has already been included in these numbers. Your SG will explain Wounds during the first combat where anyone is hurt.

Human form: Initiative +2, Attack +2*, Defense +4*, Damage +1*. Soak: 0 Wounds: Wounds:  –1, (1–5), –3 (6–10), –5 (11–15) Incapacitated (16+) *+1 if you have an improvised weapon.

Raven form: Initiative +7, Attack +6, Defense +14, Damage -4. Soak: -2. Wounds:  –1, (1–2), –3 (3–4), –5 (5–6) Incapacitated (7+)

Shark form: Initiative +5 , Attack +10, Defense +11, Damage +6, Soak: +2 Wounds:  –1, (1–8), –3 (9–16), –5 (17–24) Incapacitated (25+)

Wolf form: Initiative  +4, Attack +10, Defense +10, Damage +4,  Soak: +4. Wounds:  –1, (1–4), –3 (4–8), –5 (9–12) Incapacitated (13+)

To create other animal forms on the fly: take the closest above, and, for a bigger animal, add +1 to Attack and Damage but -1 Initiative and Defence. Larger animals have wider wound ranges, smaller animals narrower ones.

Characteristics: [Scale -3/+3, Average human = 0 ] Communication 0, Dexterity 0, Intelligence 1, Perception 2, Presence 0, Quickness 2, Strength 0, Stamina 0.

Fatigue Levels: If you spend a fatigue level, you suffer the penalty on all dice rolls until your recorvery time has passed. 

Unfatigued, 0 (2 minutes to recover), -1 (10 minutes to recover), -2 (30 minutes to recover) , -5 (1 hour to recover),  Unconscious (2 hours to recover).

Virtues and Flaws [Special features of your magical gifts, personality quirks, other benefits.]

Animal Ken and Inoffensive to animals: You can speak to animals, regardless of species. Your Gift does not scare animals, so when you are conversing with them, your roll is not penalised.

Avarice: You like collecting shiny things.  This is not pathological, but if there’s a shiny thing to be easily had, you really should try to steal it.

Blatant Gift: Although animals are not affected by your Gift, humans deeply distrust you on sight.  This is even true in your raven form, where you are the spookiest bird of ill-omen they have ever seen, and they don’t need much encouragement to throw rocks at you. -6 on all rolls to communicate with humans who do not know you well.

Deficient Technique and Incompatible Forms: You simply can’t do fire magic at all, and your creation magic is shockingly bad. Don’t even try.

Heartbeast: You can turn into a raven or human at will. This takes 1 round, and requires no dice roll. Your clothes and equipment do not change. Wounds are retained through the change.

Subtle and quiet magic: Your character suffers no penalty for casting spells without moving his hands, and only half the normal penalty for casting without speaking. This is useful in some animal forms (although your favourite, raven, allows speech anyway.)

Way of the Forest: Your character gains +3 on Ability rolls when in woodland, if the terrain is in any way significant.


Ritual spells: These spells take many hours to perform, are exhausting, and require the use of raw vis. They allow for very powerful or longlasting effects. Wait for handouts from your SG at relevant points in the story.

Formulaic spells: You always cast these spells successfully in stressless situations. To cast a spell successfully under stress, you need to roll equal to or higher than the target number given here. If the number is negative you do still need to roll, because bad things may happen if you roll a 0. You may increase your roll  by spending vis (+2 per point spent), by making sweeping gestures with your hands (+1), and by shouting your spell (+1).You can make things harder for yourself by casting silently (-5). Casting in cities has a large penalty, up to -50 for casting in churches. After the roll you may bump it up by 10 points by spending a Fatigue level. Basically – you are always going to get these spells to work outside cities.

  • Beast of outlandish size: (Range: must touch target/ Duration: soonest sunset or sunrise / Target: one animal): Doubles the size of an animal. Useful for combat and scaring people. Roll -5
  • Gift of the bear’s fortitude: (Range: You / Duration: soonest sunset or sunrise / Target: You) : transforms your flesh into that of a hardy beast. Adds +3 to your Soak score for combat, but lowers all Abilities requiring fine motor skills by 1. Roll -5
  • Shape of the woodland prowler (Range: must touch target / Duration: soonest sunset or sunrise / Target: one humanoid): Transforms a character into a wolf. At your discretion you can allow them to turn back when they wish, ending the spell, or force them to wait until the spell ends. If letting them choose, they must hold a piece of wolfskin when struck by the spell. Roll -5
  • Become the wolf of the sea: (Range: You / Duration: soonest sunset or sunrise / Target: You): Transforms you into a shark. Roll 0.
  • Curse of the coney: (Range: where your voice can be heard / Duration: soonest sunset or sunrise / Target: one humanoid). Turns the victim into a rabbit. Rabbits have negligible combat statistics. Roll 0.
  • Call to slumber: (Range: where your voice can be heard / Duration: momentary / Target: one mind): makes a mind fall asleep. The character can be woken normally after a moment, if disturbed.  Sleeping characters die really easily in this game. Roll 5
  • Crystal dart: (Range: where your voice can be heard / Duration: momentary / Target: one bit of rock): Transforms a piece of rock into a sharp shard of crystal, and flings it at an enemy, for +10 Damage (about equal to a sword blow). You don’t need to aim. Roll 5
  • Pass the unyielding portal: (Range: must touch target / Duration: two minutes / Target: one piece of wood) Makes a piece of wood, the size of a door or smaller, flexible enough for the magus to bend it out of shape. After the spell expires, the wood remains in whatever shape it was twisted into. Roll 5

Spontaneous spell menu

These are small spells you create as needed. So that you don’t need to design each spell on the fly, like in a normal Ars Magica game, this menu shows you what your character is capable of. You can cast as many as your Fatigue levels allow. Remember magical creatures may have Magic resistance, and these weak spells are unlikely to pierce it.

To see if you can create a particular spontaneous spell, check the table below. Either the spell is automatically successful, is automatically successful but requires the loss of a Fatigue level, or requires the loss of a Fatigue level and a successful dice roll. You can boost the dice roll by destroying vis (+2 per point), with broad gestures (+1), booming voice (+1). You can reduce the energy available to you by casting silently (-5).

All of the effects below require the magus to touch the target, and affect one thing for as long as the magus concentrates, unless otherwise noted. Casting a spell that affects only the magus and his clothes adds +10 to the roll.

Changing people into animals or vice versa,

  • Changing someone to gain a minor animal ability is automatically successful. You may make it last until sunset, or alter more than one person, or cast at voice range and still have an automatic success. If you want two or three items from this list, you must spend Fatigue, but need not roll.
  • Making a person slightly resistant to damage by giving them the hide or scales of an animal (+1 Soak) requires you to spend Fatigue, but not roll. If the spell lasts until sunset, or alters more than one person, or casts at voice range Roll 10.
  • Turning a person into a land animal: Roll 10. If it lasts until sunrise, is at vocal range, or affects more than one person. Roll 20.

Spells that change people or animals:

  • Changing something made from an animal product into another thing of the same mass made of the same animal product is automatically successful. If one or two of the following list are used (the change lasts until sunset, or alters more than one item, or is effective at voice range), then Fatigue is required. If all three are required, Roll 10.
  • Changing part of an animal requires Fatigue, but is successful. If the spell lasts until sunset, or at voice distance, the spell still requires Fatigue. If both Roll 10, just sight range is also Roll 10.
  • Changing something made from an animal product into a different animal product, at voice distance or lasting until sunset, requires Fatigue. If both then Roll 10, Sight range is also Roll 10.
  • Making a major, but not supernatural, change in an animal is requires Fatigue, Roll 10 for voice range, or sunset duration, Roll 15 for both.
  • Changing an animal into another animal Roll 10.
  • Making a person look like another, unspecified, person by changing apparent race, height, gender, or other features requires Fatigue. If it lasts until sunset or more than one person is altered or at voice distance, requires Fatigue. For two of these Roll 10. If the person is you, automatic success.

Spells that control animals or the body:

  • Moving dead animal matter, weighing no more than the magus could carry one-handed, slowly is an automatic success. If the spell (choose two) lasts until sunset or moves more than one object or a single object heavy enough to require five men to carry, or at voice distance: Fatigue required. If three from the list Roll 6. If at Sight distance Fatigue required.
  • Giving an animal a single command which will not endanger the animal requires Fatigue. If it lasts until sunset or affects more than one animal, or at voice distance, Roll 6.
  • Warding a person or place the size of a small room, against animal attacks requires Fatigue. If the spell lasts until sunset, or until someone inside a protective ring crosses the ring, Roll 6.
  • Causing a person to lose control of a body part at voice distance, or until sunset requires Fatigue. If both, Roll 6.
  • Moving a person slowly in one direction, provided the surface holds the person’s weight, requires Fatigue. If the spell lasts until sunset, acts at voice distance, or alters more than one person, then Roll 6.
  • Controlling the gross movements of a person, or moving them slowly in unnatural ways, Roll 6.
  • Moving yourself at running speed in an unnatural way Roll 6.

Any spell that transforms things, targets bodies, or targets animals, in minor ways:

Negotiate with the other players. Examples including making liquids into minor poisons, changing small details in memories and changing how objects look. The bigger the effect, the shorter its duration and casting distance. Spells that affect only the caster are more powerful than those which target others.


6 replies on “Coracinet of Bjornaer, a shapeshifter

  1. This reads very well. I’d be inclined to sort the formulaic and spontaneous spells by increasing roll required, but that’s a minor gripe.


    1. At the moment they are sorted by absolute power of effect (that is, they are by spell level). That’s hidden because I have peeled the maths off. I’m kind of worried that if I sort by roll, minor effects in weaker Arts will go to the top of the list, because they are “harder” than major effects in stronger arts.


      1. Aha. How the spells are best sorted depends what kind of behaviour you want to encourage.

        Some assumptions I make (based on my experiences with 4th edition):
        – players need to be able to look at the lists and quickly narrow down what’s applicable to and viable in their current situation.
        – it’s really important not to spend Fatigue frivolously.

        For formulaic spells, that suggests sorting by roll required from lowest to highest, leading to players picking the easiest spell they think will work. (Incidentally, would it better to say “Roll anything but a 0” instead of “Roll -5”?)

        For spontaneous spells, that suggests sorting primarily by strongest Technique+Form (as you have done) and then by roll required from lowest to highest.


        1. I do see your point, and you are right. It’s an easy change to make and I will make it, eventually.

          I’ve been having a bit of a blue about my approach to this on the Ars forum, and I’m feeling a bit washed out on this, so I’m not going to keep reworking the mages now. I’m going to work on a couple of my paid projects until the weekend.

          I’m cutting the mages in the project from three to two, mostly because they take a lot of effort, and I can’t quite see what the third one would do, other than be a combat monster and that’s kind of dull.

          I’m going to design some companions…a merchant captain, a noblewoman diplomat, and a thief, I think. Again, though, that will have to wait for the weekend.

          After I get the paid projects out of the way…Ruler Wants a Wife!


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