About an item with range: personnal ?

We made a magic item in our campaign, and I would like to know if you find it respect the rules, or the spirit of the rules...

Based on "True Sight of the Air" p. 127.


Base 1: sense unhindered by air (fog, mist, clouds)
+4 vision
+1 concentration

effect modifier:
+5 concentration
+1 : 2uses per day

Total 16 levels


Spectacles of the mountain. InAu16.

When looking through that (clear) glass, you can see through the mist, fog and such as well as if it wasn't there.
The glass is mounted on a metalic apparatus that can hold it over the eyes. (spectacles)


The rules as written would allow the glass to actually see through fog, but not the wearer.
Since one need to look through the glass to benefit from the item, and so wear them, it's of the same level.

An item with Range: touch would go along those lines:
"Allow the one struct by the item to see through fog." which is not what is wanted here. You could make this item 12 uses per day by adding 3 levels and one magnitude, to level 24. That would be more powerfull, but of higher level.


The problem I see is a dilemma between having an item with personnal range to help the wearer and an item with range: touch but that can affect many people.

Can we not have an magic item affect only the wearer, while he is wearing an item, without the need to boost range to touch ?

The problem with touch range item is that they can affect many people. Who would build a spectacle that affect only the wearer, while he could as well give it the power to be usefull for many people ?

I would like a way around this "imperfection" of the rules.

Question: Are you using 4th or 5th Edition rules?

We completly converted to 5th ed. (on first occasion ^^ I prefer 5th to 4th edition, though both result in great game.)

I would rule thusly:

The item needs to be either touch, to grant the magus the ability to see through mist, fog, blah blah. OR it needs a seperate power to display what it sees (with range personal) to the magus, some kind of CrIm effect.

If the item sees, then it does not mystically display what it sees without another effect.

To get the effect as you have written it would require touch range. I would allow the same effect (i.e. seeing the truth through the specs) as simply the cosmetic effect appropriate to the device.

I haven't thought of that. Ir certainly would work ! :slight_smile:
It would allow for a lower level InAu effect in the item.

But I find it doesn't resolve my dilemma, because such an item would be a major magical item. It would need 3 seasons to enchant !

Please, allow me to reformulate the dilemma:
Can a magus be interested to invent a lesser device, with 2 pawns of Vis, enabling the wearer to see through fog ?
If you go for the "Range: touch" solution, the problem is that that same item could also affect many people.
So a magus could certainly do it, but would have no interest making it affect only the one that wear the magic item, as it would lower the power of his item.

The problem is that having those Spectacles working only on the wearer is so "natural" for me as a magic item, that I can't believe the rules should not support it. Is it not the same for you ?
Think about a cloak of invisibility, a belt of levitation, boots of seven strides, a ring of...etc

E.g.: Wand of Fog Seeing
InAu 21
Base 1, +1 touch, +2 sun, +4 vision = level 20
2 uses per day +4 level = total level 21.

Your idea would mean the same level for spectacles that can only affect the wearer. The Wand of Fog Seeing can affect two persons at the same time. More persons with a few more levels.

Thus I end up with the same dilemma:Who would build a spectacle that affect only the wearer, while he could as well give it the power to be usefull for many people ?

Pushing the rules to their limits, the want could be made of "Clear Glass" (AM 5th, p.111) to give the same Shape and material bonuses as a spectacle.

Well if you are using 5th then I would make the following comments...

[color=darkred] +1 Touch

[color=darkred]Total Level 21

[color=darkred]note: Just a picky sidenote to say that the device itself would be an anachronism in 1220 as the first spectacles were not invented until somewhere around 1287, but I wouldnt let that stop you from using the concept


[color=darkred]Not true. Personal range invested effects effect ONLY the device itself, not the user unless the device also happens to be a Talisman, no if's, and's or but's about it.

[color=darkred]Ummm.. Well, you wouldnt want to go about striking people with a pair of fragile spectacles that's for sure but that is not the only sense of Touch range.

Touch simply means the device's effect affects whomever or whatever it is touching. Thus enchanted rings must be Touch range to affect the wearer and so too would enchanted spectacles.

[color=darkred]Here you seem to have already included the +1 magnitude for Touch range anyways, which is correct. The better way to design the effect (or any effect requiring concentration in a device IMO would be to add the extra mag to have the device maintain concentration for the user. This would keep the user's concentration sharp for any other magical needs that may arise as he is wandering about in the mist/fog/clouds/smoke, etc.

True this would make the effect (as originally listed above) a level 26 effect, but it would also negate the need for more than 2 uses a day (or even more than one if you just let the device concentrate for an entire sun period, keeping the effect active for any eventuality). Drop it to 1 use per day (free) and its a sound level 25 effect and perfectly achievable in the lab even by most starting magi (those designed for enchanting at any rate). Otherwise take the idea to a Verditius and have him make it for you. :wink:

[color=darkred] I think you have misunderstood something here or are needlessly confusing two or more notions. Firstly: Touch range does not inherently "affect many people". It MAY affect more than one person IF

  1. The device in which the effect is contained is designed to be used in such a manner as going about touching others (staff, sword, wand, glove, etc.). This is not something you would generally do with a pair of flimsy spectacles.


  1. The user were to go about individually touching EACH subsequent person to be affected by the device's effect. Since the only way to truly affect "many people" would be to raise the effect's TARGET level to Group (and with that also raise the range to Voice or Sight, which would be very silly and costly IMO).

SINCE this device is designed essentially to be worn by ONE person/magus and to employ its invested effect for the benefit of THAT sole person/magus, there is no dilemma whatsoever. The range simply MUST be touch if you want the wearer to be able to utilize the power to see through fog/mist/smoke/dust/ etc. in the air (especially if you want it to be done with one single invested effect in a Lesser enchanted device).

This is not an "imperfection in the rules" only an imperfection in your interpretation of them. :wink:

(thanks again for your gaming stuff, btw =D)

You're answer is of much interest!
You probably writted it before I sent my answer to gribble's post.

I probably didn't explained the dilemma as clearly as should be :slight_smile:
I hope you see how I understand there is still some sort of "dilemma", or imperfection in the rules.

yes, struck. Sorry for that. English is not my primary language. I try my best to write as well as I can. :slight_smile:

I agree this is the rule as written. But there is some sort of "bug" in the rule, as I try to demonstrate.

Do you mean that a Range: touch item can only affect someone as long as it is touching him ? I don't think that was what you meant.
If so, what would stop the same magus making a Wand instead of spectacles ? Both can be made of Clear Glass to get the S&M bonus to "see through something". But that is secondary, one could as well make an iron wand.

I agree with all that you said, but this:

I see your point, but nothing in the rules disallow to have spectacle to have a trigger of touching someone with it. I completly agree with you that would be absurd! I wouldn't allow as SG, and wouldn't play a character like that.
Let's say the item is a wand, and forgetting about the S&M bonus. Think about a Mage with a high enough Lab total to make the item without it anyway.

Yes !
What I meant by "can affect many people" is this:
Such an item can "maintain" many effects on different people, with the same effect. That item can be used to affect one people after the other.

Do you agree that:
A wand of "Wall of Protecting Stone" can be used to make many walls at the same time (one after the other. To make all of them on the same action, it's true that you would need boost Target to group)

Or do you mean that such a Wand need to have Target: group to be able to maintain many walls at the same time ?

To be clear:
Can a wand that duplicate WoPS with "Target: individual" but with 6 uses per day be made to create one wall, then another, than a third one?
Having all three walls exist at the same time, each disappearing at dawn/dusk ?^

I always thought that the RAW answer is "yes" to that question.

If yes, then the dilemma about the InAu spectacles remain...
If no, than i'll have improved my understanding of the rules ! ^^

You make me see that I used badly the word "dilemma" here. :s
What I meant is:
In my understanding of the RAW, a wizard would never choose to make an item with touch affecting only the wearer. Sure, a wizard could perfectly do it, and so going along the RAW. (#1
But then the RAW allow for such an effect with the same level to affect many people (one after the other, but all at the same time).(#2)
This make me thinks that no wizard would prefer option #1 to #2.

I mean, would not the item #1 be of lower level than #2 ?
How can you translate that in terms of rules ?

Mmm, yes, R: Touch is needed. And yes, the spectacles could in principle be made to affect many people, by touching them consecutively. But ArM's rules were never very good at creating a Mythic feeling by themselves - they are more flexible, to gain a mythic feel you need to use them with, well, finesse.

There was advice in the old 4e "Parma Fabula" that I'm gonna quote here.

The key is not to fudge the numbers to gain maximum utility, but rather to think of the mythical effect you desire and then figure out the numbers that will produce it.

Having the spectacles work on those wearing them is just cooler. Or, in Parma Fabula's terminology - mythical. If you as a group feel the need for mechanical encouragement, don't be ashamed of adding S&M [what a terrible name...] bonuses or otherwise encouraging mythic thinking (or discouraging "ugly" items). Perhaps "spectacles" provide a +6 S&M bonus to improve the sight of those wearing them? Perhaps the clear glass wand is more difficult to do than expected, costing an unexpected magnitude? Magic works in mysterious ways.

Personally, I would suggest - as a house rule - you only grant S&M bonuses when these are appropriately used by the item. If you use clear glass to gain a "+5 seeing through something" bonus, you should be looking through the glass when using the item. If you use a bell to gain "+5 warning", the item better use the bell to warn. I'd allow exceptions, e.g. a wand made of bone or a an amulet to improve lying made out of snake tongue; but generally speaking, to gain the shape bonus you need to use the shape appropriately.

Le plaisir est a moi! :wink:

Probably was still writing it when Gribble wrote his response above.

Ok, well let me first say that I am deeply indebted to all that YR7 wrote above for what I am about to add. His answer is as eloquent a summation of the spirit of the canon as I could ever hope to write.

I understand that you still perceive a dilemma so let us examine it given what have to work with within the canon framework.

The answer to the first question is YES, I did mean that an effect with Range: Touch within a device must be touching (or simply be touched to) whatever or whomever it is designed to affect in order to confer its power. Given that, the answer to your second question is (as YR7 pointed out) that there is NOTHING preventing a magus from putting the same effect into a glass (or even iron) wand, ring, etc. other than the flavour and feel this would give to the item.

The FORM of the item is merely the flair that one should consider when incorporating a created device into the saga, as it can enhance or detract from the imaginitive fantasy flavour of the role play itself. Numerically/mechanically it makes no difference whatsoever.

Nowhere did I suggest that the rules disallow the device to have a Touch trigger (although effect triggers are usually more complicated than simply using a simply physical action, especially one equated to the Range itself in this one expressed instance, in order to avoid accidental triggering ).

Firstly, YES. A device with an effect that has multiple uses per day and which has Duration:Concentration (and also maintains concentration) may indeed be used multiple times to employ that effect, each being maintained in turn by the device, IMO.

I see nothing in the core rules that suggests any limit to a device's capability to maintain concentration on any number of activations of the same effect OR activation of several differing effects each with Duration:concentration. This is why I personally love Verditius so much. Toys remove the difficulty of having to maintain a spell/effect while trying to cast or do something else.

Given what I have said immediately above, in answer to your example, a device with WoPS and multiple uses, Duration concentration and Target: Individual COULD maintain concentration (until dawn/dusk) on each individual wall created since each is a separate triggering of the same effect. That is indeed what the rules intend as they are written.

Having said that, I still argue that there is no dilemma or imperfection here, only a persistent subjective angst (apparently) at using a Range (Touch) which allows effects to be used on one or more than Target. The Range itself is a neutral matter, it is its application which flavours the both the intended use of the device and how it is used in your saga by its owner(s) as YR7 again alluded to.

I see what you WANT to mean, but I still think you are frustrating yourself needlessly. Sure a wizard WOULD choose to make an effect in a device with Range:Touch affecting ONLY the wearer, since that IS the only canon alternative to Range:Personal which would work for any item that is NOT a talisman. So...

#1 Yes indeed, the (IMO) appreciable aspect of Range:Touch IS precisely its inherent allowance for effects that are intended EITHER to affect only the user/wearer of the device OR to affect one or more others who may be touched by the device.
#2 "Option #2" as I infer you to mean as being Range:Touch with option #1 being Range:Personal yes, #1 WOULD be lower level, but it would not be desirable for any intelligent wizard (within the scope of the canon) since he/she would know that such a range would not permit the device to affect him/her in the way in which he/she intended it to.

Now, there is always a solution (thanks to the Ars notion of "the game being yours and your troupe's to do with as you will"). One such solution might be to INVENT your own new Range: User and set it to the same gratis level as Personal. This would of course be wholly dependent on what your SG will allow (and many would not desire a new effect Range to be simply given at no cost).

So, one possible justifier for such a Range might be to require the magus to conduct at least one season of original research (with its potential risks involved) in order to discover such a Range (limited purely to enchantments).

That is the best, and fullest response I can offer you.

Hope it helps you to overcome your "dilemma". :wink:

If you want a mechanics solution to the dilemma, couldn't you just use the Linked Trigger effect modification to have the effect only trigger when placed on the head? It would make it more of an invested device than a simple enchanted device, but I think for an item the SG wants to put out in the game, that's a nonissue.

If this is an item your magus is going to design, our troupe tends to be of the mind that "The magic operates as you intended it to operate, within the mechanics of the system." That kind of mentality gets around the 'bug' you suggest.

The other option you could consider is to keep the level of effect personal but either give the effect an increase in magnitude to share the images with the wearer or create a second, linked CrIm effect to display the images to the wearer. Honestly, for the flavor you're pursuing, I prefer the magnitude bump.


Actually, Leonis, this would not be a mechanics solution within the canon since "Linked Triggers" are not something linked to physical actions, but rather to to the activation or resulting outcomes of other effects within the same device. Physical triggers ( such as "activates when worn as per its form") are just normal triggers, no matter how they are qualified.

As for your second suggestion, if you are adding an ambiguous magnitude simply to account for the devices ability to confer its personal range effect to the wearer, then what difference does that offer to simply using the proper canon Touch range? None that I can see.

To my mind, one either employs a House rule or does original research to discover a new Range as the only means of "getting around canon Range issues". Otherwise it is just as easy to accept Touch as the only viable Range which would permit the magus to realise his/her intended enchantment.

Yes, but I was thinking of a more specific trigger that would keep the touch range from being shared.

I guess I left it as an exercise for the reader, but the linked triggers, as I read them, seem to imply an invested device as they suggest an intelligo effect that creates the "IF" portion that generates the "THEN" of the effect you'd want...

So for this one, perhaps an InCo effect at touch that discerns the item's position on the body and that it being touched by only one person-- once it meets that condition, triggers the touch level InAu effect. That would mostly obviate the issue about Touch being a range one could feasibly share. However, it makes the device a complicated invested item that could still be removed, handed to someone else, and used again while the first user is still under the effect-- and I think that's the spirit of usage we're trying to avoid.

The difference is that the effect is in the item and not an effect that one could pass in between other individuals. It prevents sharing the effect without having possession of the item, which is a fine goal in my mind. It's an aspect of enchanted items I can appreciate as open to some abuse, and don't mind the idea of using the system to close it.

Call it what you like-- there is sufficient flexibility in the system to allow it with the tethered casting aspects from the Mutantes in HoH:TL. I think that virtue alone would suggest it's within the system to create such an effect. It is Ars Magica, after all, and not Scientia Magica. An appropos quote comes to mind... "Ask for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours." Why force the need for Original Research on such a small effect? He wants it to function in a certain way that's neither abusive nor beyond reason-- a magnitude bump fits the bill pretty well in my mind without going down the "House Rule" path.


Actually, what he wants is to have an alternative to Range:Touch that limits the benefit only to the user SO THAT he can shave off the magnitude and make the effect cheaper to invest. Everything else you've offered is unnecessary convolution of this issue.

My second point about "what difference does it make if you add an ambiguous magnitude or simply use the +1 mag Range:Touch" is simply a purely mechanical question. Since either way he doesn't get the cheaper version he is after, it really doesn't offer a solution to his "dilemma". :wink:

I'll have to disagree here. I think the linked trigger effect is pretty close without too much rules acrobatics, it just makes the item invested and more effort. That's not the cheaper effect he wanted, but then I don't think the cheaper interpretation is one many SGs would go with out of the gate.. As far as a magnitude equivalent Range that provides a shared effect, if the item's designer had the Tethered Casting virtue, I would probably permit it right out. Otherwise, I think it's an effect that needs the magnitude bump. Original Research is just plain silly for that kind of range. 30 Magnitudes of stabilized discovery for an effect that's already a virtue?

Probably the best answer would be "Go improve your arts for a season or two first, so you can manage a less questionable version of the effect or ask your Troupe for consideration." Like I said before, my Troupe tends to go with the intent of the effect over the literal RAW.

I think the only way he can justify the cheaper solution is to have tethered casting or a house rule within his Troupe, but then I guess I was focusing on his commentary regarding the loophole within the touch range and the behavior he wanted the item to have-- which I thought was as equally important as the overall cost.


I agree. Simply placing the object on the head is sufficient for a normal trigger. However, you could put an 'Effect Use' modification (which adds 3 levels) that specifies "only people wearing the device" - which would also need a Linked Trigger. This, IMO, would cancel the effect when it is removed. However, by adding lots of restrictions to the item you are making it more difficult / time-consuming to make. The simplest solution would be only 1 use per day...



Now you didn't know me, so it's comprehensible that you all thought that I was searching for an easier way to do things, that I don't know about the importance of putting some flair into our magic items, to put into perspective the importance of the rules. etc...

There are many things said here.

“Actually, what he wants is to have an alternative to Range: Touch that limits the benefit only to the user SO THAT he can shave off the magnitude and make the effect cheaper to invest. Everything else you've offered is unnecessary convolution of this issue.”

Please don’t put words in my mouth that I didn’t say.
Yes, but I made a “nuance” (shade of grey?) you didn’t saw, it seems. Making a house rule that say that any magic item that doesn’t affect the wearer need a +1 magnitude modifier would do as well to solve the problem. The reason why I don’t like that solution is that it makes too wide changes for an issue so specific (obviously!). My goal is nowhere near making the life of my character easier, on the contrary :wink:

To YR7:
It is preferable that magic created in a campaign contribute to it, making it more enjoyable. Contributing to what makes the players enjoy the game is important. It makes the campaign more concrete, gives it reality, consistence, so for most gamers, funnier.
I agree entirely with YR7 here.

But this doesn’t resolve any rule problem. Of course, one could play without resolving all rule problem encountered. From my experience, I would advise not to!

Saying that the actions of the character should reflect the mythical perspective doesn’t solve a rule problem. The rules have their own reason to exist, separate from the reason why we should respect the flavour of a game.
In each rule system, there are some flaws, and each group need to decide, upon encountering one, how to deal with it.

If you are saying that the flaw I bring forward doesn’t need a house rule, that the rule work perfectly fine for you, and is not important enough to resolve, that is a respectable opinion.
But then I'm not sure why you replied to my post?

I think, beyond the need for flavour, and after stating the relatively minor importance of the issue, there is still things that can be said. I think that the ArsM 5th ed. is a wonderful game, and that its magical rules are the best I ever seen.
This doesn't mean, IMO, that we can't improve the rules in some way.

I agree with Leonis: <<"The magic operates as you intended it to operate, within the mechanics of the system.''That kind of mentality gets around the 'bug' you suggest. >> I like that way of doing things, but from time to time, I put some time to improving the rules.

I think this matter came up often enough in our campaign to merit some thought about it. And I thought that here, on this forum, was the right place to discuss such things.

I’m asking my question here, on this forum, for the sole goal of discussing the matter with people that know the game as well as I do.

This is how I see things, simply.

Here is (about) how this happened in our gaming group:
A) We like personal magic items. (As much as anybody, I guess)
B) Our covenant have/will have magic items, stone statues, which will give some magical effect upon those who touch them and speak the name of what represent the statue/the effect, etc.
Imagine a Hades (“the unseen one”) statue that render invisible, etc, etc.

It just happened that we, players, (re)discovered that those two types of magical items have the same level, thus are about as easily constructed.

But statue are not transportable, so we thought of this item:

Base 1: sense unhindered by air (fog, mist, clouds)
+4 vision
+2 sun
+1 touch

Effect modifier:
+1 : 2 uses per day

Total 21 levels


Holy Water of True Sight InAu 21.
If the water of this magical gourd is sprinkled over your eyes, you will see through mist and fog as if it wasn’t there. Your vision will be a bit fuzzy, as if seeing through water. It last until sunset / sundown, and the water put into the gourd need to be taken from clear water (running water, etc). Two persons can receive the effect at the same time, or the same person can keep the magical sense active night and day by sprinkling water over the eyes again when the effect wear off.

I’m just searching ideas to solve, with elegance, this matter.

We could invent new effect modifier for magical object that affect only the wearer. Something along those lines:

+1: As “keep concentration”, but the effect can only affect the wearer of the item, while he is actually wearing it. Only magical object that can be wearied can use this effect modifier.


+0. Effect is permanent. The effect can only affect the wearer of the item, while he is actually wearing it. Only magical object that can be wearied can use this effect modifier. Only effect with duration: Sun can use this effect modifier. (Replacing the normally +4 level: (+3: environment trigger) + (+1 2uses per day) )


Range: personal effects put in a magical item can be made to affect the wearer, but only and as long as the user is wearing the item.


Keep things as they are. Some magus will see certain personal magic items and say “Hum, I could have done better given the same resources.”
This can work well also, if you don’t mind my little perspective. If you think that making personal objects a bit easier to do is a side effect that unbalance the game, this is your solution.
I understand that most of you here think it is the case (or should I think like that?)

Iudicium: if you find the game works better with such a house rule, house rule it. It's your game :slight_smile:

I'd personally prefer the "Personal" exception, of the variants you suggest. It will allow the items to work without needing to bypass the wearer's Magic Resistance, which is a major advantage and seems very fitting. Why pile on levels for penetration, or suppress the Parma, if you want to wear the glasses? Keep in mind this will create an opening for bypassing Parma with hostile intent, however, and will diminish the usefulness of talismans.

This really isn't a problem for me, at least hasn't been yet. So I don't consider it's worth changing the rules over it. It does, however, seem to be a glitch in the system, which a house rule such as you suggested can solve. So as it's evidently a problem for you, house rule away! :slight_smile:

My character has encountered the exact problem descibed here.
I wanted to make items to affect my character (mostly intellego and protection stuff). When browsing the rules on that I saw that those items need touch range and have to penetrate my parma (which I can of course drop during activation).

In the end this led me to contruct my talisman. For our group this was very beneficial, because we explored a new part of the game (and its mechanics). For the magi it is of course a burden.

Considering that my group hardly makes magic items I see little problem in increasing their potential by allowing personal range in items to affect the one that activates it. (bypassing parma would seem appropriate)

Side thought: (based on the well known explosive runes)
"In the heat of the crime"
Activation: unrolling the scroll.
Effect: +15 fire damage to both scroll and opener.
Level 10 CrIg effect -> (a lab total of 40 would make 6 of these scrolls)

So, would you allow those scrolls (or anything that can cast a powerful killer spell) to auto-penetrate parma as well?

BTW: the scroll example can act at personal range, in any case, since it is the scroll being activated and casting the spell (explode!!) on itself.


I would say no. As written, the rules would allow magic resistance, I don't think it's ambiguous.
Considering a house rule, I don't it would be wise to allow such an explosive parchment to auto-penetrate.

But my gaming group decided otherwise for ingested potion: if a magus drink a potion, then he is considered to have lowered his Parma for the effect. This make potions, disguised in a glass of wine, very dangerous...

I like your idea of "In the heat of the crime" very much, though.
Putting it in our library, I think we should make it "Just retribution" with a PeCo effect, since I don't want our library to be set aflame. ^^