Mama Kolydina's Instant Infestation

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Spell Crystal
Mama Kolydina's Instant Infestation
Spell information
Nickname mkii
Guild Witches
Type Defensive
Description Insect shield that absorbs damage.
GP cost 70
Mind space 45
Thaums 9
Components sugar cube/lump (consumed)
Crystal Amber
Mama Kolydina's Instant Infestation
Magick crystal information
Colour Amber
Effect Summons a weak bug shield
Duration (s) 8 seconds per amulet bonus
Duration (l) 15 seconds per amulet bonus

Mama Kolydina's Instant Infestation (also known as bug shield or just bugs) is a defensive witch spell that allows the caster to summon insects from her surroundings into a protective shield about herself.


Acquisition

This spell can be learned at 75 levels of magic.spells.defensive. It is taught by Granny Weatherwax and Aunty Ogg-San.

Mechanics

There are three main effects associated with this spell:

  • It absorbs physical damage. Depending on the strength of the shield, this can be as much as all of the damage.
  • It counterstrikes against the attacker, causing damage.
  • It may cause additional effects when counterstriking.

Damage absorption

The bug shield forms a defensive layer which is:

It absorbs incoming physical damage, as well as damage from some other sources (for example, thunderbolts from the shrines in Djelibeybi).

Bugs do not like fire and can get roasted by it. A weak shield (say, a cloud or handful) will dodge fire, while a strong one (like a plague) will absorb it until it becomes weakened.

Counterstriking

Whenever the shield is struck, there is a high chance that the bugs within it will counterstrike against the attacker. This counterstrike comprises magical damage (that is, cannot be dodged/parried/blocked/etc), the magnitude of the damage is higher for more advanced bug types. For example, mayflies do about 10hp damage on counterstrike, whereas assassin bugs do about 200hp damage.

Counterstrike special effects

In addition to damage, some types of bugs cause other effects on counterstriking, ranging from clothes damage to poison. See the list of insects for more details.

Bug types

Each of the skills involved in summoning affects the quality of bugs summoned.

Higher levels of background magic (like summoning in a circle) also increase the likelihood of stronger bugs.

Bug quantities

The number of bugs summoned is proportional to the caster's magic.spells.defensive bonus. Bug quantities are displayed loosely via the size of the swarm orbiting the witch. From smallest to largest, the swarm sizes are as follows:

  1. A handful
  2. A cloud
  3. A small swarm
  4. A large swarm
  5. A vast swarm
  6. A plague

Note that the final category, 'plague', encompasses a much larger range of bug quantities than the other categories.

Shield ablation

Once cast, the shield continues to exist until it is worn down. The following processes can ablate the shield:

  • Taking damage - in which case the shield ablation is proportional to the damage of the attack.
  • Flying - a very small amount of the bug swarm leaves during broomstick flight.

Shield departure

The following causes the shield to disappear:

  • Ablating all the remaining shield by any of the above means.
  • Being submerged under water.
  • Time - the bugs will eventually depart if they've been around (without re-stacking) for a period of timeresearch depending on the level of success of the cast.

Stacking, upbugging, flukes and super shields

Witches can attempt to stack or upbug this spell by recasting it while an existing bug shield is active.

If you obtain insects that are better than the current shield there is a chance that is will scare off the previous shield and take its place, thus upbugging your shield.

If the new summoned insects happens to be the same as your bug shield then they will attempt to merge together. You can stack insects only up to some threshold at which point they scare off even their own kind from joining. If successful, then the size of the existing swarm will swell with the new numbers.

Stacked shields can be stronger than the shield initially cast, effectively creating a 'super shield'. There is, however, a cap on the maximum shield size that can be attained via stacking. This cap appears to be roughly equivalent to the number of bugs that would be attained via casting with a 600-700 magic.spells.defensiveresearch bonus.

Very rarely, sometimes fluke success occurs during casting - in this case the number of bugs summoned can be several times the normal number, not limited by the stacking limits, creating an exceptionally durable shield.

Often, recasting this will be unsuccessful either because you get weaker bugs or they fail to scare the weaker insects. Then the new swarm leaves and the old one stays.

Magick crystals

This spell may be imbued into a magick crystal, which turns it an amber colour. When worn, this crystal will periodically summon a small swarm of a very weak bug type; as such these crystals are not terribly useful.

Casting

This spell costs 70 GP when cast, and takes up 45 units of mind space. It takes no target; the shield is always cast on the caster.

This spell cannot be cast in or on water; attempting to do so results in the message 'It's just too wet to cast Mama Kolydina's Instant Infestation here.'

Skills

Focus tea results
Scale      
80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240 260 280
 
summoning            
 
       
charming            
 
       
chanting            
 
       
binding            
 
       
cursing            
 
       

The following skills are used during the stages of this spell (primary in bold):

Components

This spell requires a lump of sugar, which is consumed.

Casting messages

Casting

You prepare to cast Mama Kolydina's Instant Infestation.
You release your mind and let it float gently, until you touch upon a number of insect minds nearby.  Carefully, you encourage them to fly in your direction.
A cloud of insects cautiously approaches.  You slowly crumble a cube of sugar into your hand and offer it up, in the hope of luring them closer.
You deftly flick the fine particles around yourself, making a sticky floating cloud of sugar-powder.
You whisper an apology under your breath for what you're about to make these insects do.
The insects eagerly cluster around you, fighting for the sugar.  When they are positioned to your liking, you begin to weave a web of force around yourself, making it difficult for them to fly away from you.
You reinforce your web by prodding the minds of the insects, sternly warning them that if they don't stay where they are they'll get no more sugar.

Note that the casting messages above may vary slightly - the 'apology' is sometimes not present, likewise the 'deft flicking' may or may not happen.

Success

Success messages are hugely variable, and depend on the type of insects summoned. As examples:

The assassin bugs begin to circle you slowly.
The plague of ladybirds begin to buzz around you happily.
The plague of moths flutter into a chaotic formation about you.

What others see

<caster> peers around vaguely, eyes blank and oddly... multifaceted.
The insects swarm towards the sugar, but <caster> throws the fine particles into the air, making a sticky cloud of sweet particles.
The insects swarm eagerly around <caster>, who begins to scowl in deep concentration at them.
<caster> glares at the insects, and their buzzing grows slightly sullen.
Buzzing loudly, the plague of elephant beetles begins to circle <caster>.

Stacking more bugs

Some more <insect type> fly into the swarm surrounding you.

Same insects but too many to stack

The swarm of <insect type> is so large that it practically frightens any more insects from joining it!

Upbugging

The assassin bugs swarm angrily around the gnats attacking them viciously.
The gnats make a hasty retreat and the assassin bugs gather around you victoriously.

Failure to upbug or stack

The <insect type> don't seem to get along with the <current insect type> and the cloud of insects flies away.

Interactions with Transcendent Pneumatic Alleviator

Mama Kolydina's Instant Infestation does not get along well with Transcendent Pneumatic Alleviator. If both are present on the same witch, then the insects will fly in and out of the impact shield, continually and rapidly weakening it (and to a lesser extent, themselves)research until it breaks.

See also

External links