Aiming vs Targetting

A question has come up in our saga.. more of a disagreement really ^^

It basically comes up over targetted spells over aimed ones. I go by the rules on pg 86, under Aiming, that says, if a spell -isn't- aimed.. it will -always- hit the target (unless it doesn't penetrate or is fast countered obviously)

The problem comes with situations like.. when a magus fast casts a complete iron sphere around themselves.. what happens to a targetted spell that's going to hit them now?.. does it just blast through the sphere?

My Troupe leader thinks magic will just splat against the sphere or something.. whereas I think it will ALWAYS hit the target unless it fails to penetrate.. and nothing can stop it, whether it has to phase through a barrier or just blast through it..

The next situation, which is the one that's actually come up in game.. a small passageway underground.. grogs are blocking it against some horrible ooze monster.. I fire a Mu(Re)Te spell, which to sum up, fires a blob of liquid stone at something, and then encases it, trapped it inside.
This isn't an aimed spell, so it must penetrate resistance, which it can do of course. Now.. my troupe leader thinks it would hit the grogs in the way.. whereas I see it more as magic being quite capable of just flying over their heads or past them to strike it's proper target.

Anyway.. just curious how people would solve situations like this.. as it's not 100% clear and such

I think that a better example is a mage standing on one side of a clear glass wall, casting at something on the other side (there's no way for the spell to go around)

For the sake of argument, assume the spell is not powerful enough to go straight through the wall, and explicitly mentions it creates something near the magi, which travels to the target. Sphere of Abysmal Flames and Pilum of Fire are good examples for that.

That's not a better example.. heh, it can always just arc -over- the wall.. make it a glass sphere ^^

Which is why I -specified- there's no way for the spell to go around.

It's a wall from floor to ceiling!

Must I present 3d models with my examples?! I will, you know, if I have to :slight_smile:

Hehe.. aaaaaaah :wink:

I've read somewhere that in the case of BoAF at least, the fireball is really just a cosmetic effect, that the flames are really created directly on the target. According to this, yes, the magus in his iron sphere would still get blasted... though there'll be the small problem of sensing him.

Tell him to forego the temptation to make magic overly material. Or to think of it in modern physics.

If the base assumption is satisfied - that the caster can sense the target (by sense or an AC) and the target is within range of the particular spell - then the magic hits. The description of Abysmal Balls flying, or darts of earth etc, is cosmetic fluff only - it is beautifull but cosmetic only. With Creo magic you might as well create where the intended target is. Within reason, you can always descripe the spell effect finding a way around to the intended target, or metaphysical passing through intervening barriers (as long as the two base assumptions are fine).

Alternatively any mundane force attacking a magus will start to "insulate" themselves - maybe even shoving up in a giant woodensphere on wheels - could even be in the shape of a giant horse... or a rabbit. :laughing:

On a more serious note, if he insists then you should make HR to fit it. One could be to return to earlier editions-like solutions of having to target all spells. In that case enjoy the calculations.

Interesting question and one I've thought about too. I tend to invoke the grand rule of "double standards".

Mundane targets have no chance. That's just their tough luck for being mundane.

But wizardly type people/things may be able to protect themselves. Imagine I send a Pilum of Fire hurtling towards you. As a Terram specialist you decide to fast-cast a sheet of stones that explode out from the ground disrupting the fire and saving you from a toasting. I'd buy that. Firstly, it's within the rules and secondly, it's cool.

I'd even allow a magus to use a Corpus fast cast to shift himself out of the line of the spell, again because it fits with fast-cast defence and, again, looks cool.

I imagine all those darty type spells (pilum, crystal dart etc) as perhaps having the ability to swerve/seek/follow to a limited degree. So mundanes just don't have the ability to get out of the way or react quickly enough (though I do like the idea of a grog barging a table up and ducking down just as the magus casts the pilum; flames biting and rending at the wood while the grog is safe...) while magi/Might-ed beasts may.

But what if they go prepared with their, ahem, "balls of steel"? You know, I think the spells as written would actually bounce off. Their descriptions usually show the effect starting at the magus and travelling to the target. There's no reason that the damaging effect couldn't just affect the target with no travelling (as Abysmal Flame implies it does) but pilum and dart in particular clearly state that they travel.

Two common spell discriptions...


R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind
A ball of flame shoots from your hand to strike a single target, doing +30 damage.
Marius of Tremere's version of the spell causes the ball to make a loud bang when it hits the target. His sigil is a gaudiness in his spells.
(Base 25, +2 Voice; the ball appearing to shoot from your hand is a cosmetic effect)


R: Voice, D: Diam, T: Ind
Requisites: Rego
The target is swathed in fire, and takes +5 damage every round while the spell is in effect. That is, the damage must be rolled against Soak twenty times during the spell. The Rego requisite ensures that the fire does not spread.
(Base 5, +2 Voice, +1 Diam, +1 Rego requisite)

What it really comes to is sensing the target.

In the case of the ball of iron you do not know if the magi teleported away and the ball is a side effect or from weird magic. also your completely enclosed, the BoF as described has no chance of hitting. So next round if the ball is still there try a spell that creates fire at the point such as a slightly modified Coat of Flame. You still cant see inside the ball so a targeting roll is needed, if your trying to fill the entire ball with flame it would be a low difficulty (magi inside cant dodge easily)

Hiding in a glass ball?
This screams house rule to decide if the clear glass which can not be seen has any effect. Again i'd go with the spell discription, if it says shoots from the magi to target then it would hit the glass, if described as creating damage at a point then the magi trying to hide is hit. Good reason to create PoF, BoF spells that create the fire on the target, also lets you toast the annoying townsfolk with out drawing attention by a having a stream of fire streak from you :smiling_imp: to other witness "did you see that he just bust into flames! must have been smote by god"

Or even more so.
Why wouldn't a Pillum of Fire act like an IR-guided rocket? Only, it's designated as a target by you sensing it.
If it has to change course, well, I picture it like some ki blasts in anime. If I remember correctly, DBZ has some good exemples of it.

Btw, I agree with you on all other points. Even if the ball of flame travelling is just a cosmetic effect, this means it is a free choice, to make the spell look cool, but it is there nonetheless.

I sort of see Ball of Abysmal Flame as just creating balls of fire along a line, like frames in an animation. When it strikes its target it 'stops' long enough to deal fire damage, then vanishes. Anything caught in the way before that might just be singed, since it's just a cosmetic effect - BoAF wasn't designed to actually deal damage in a line.

What this does mean is that, in my games, if you can sense someone through a barrier, the BoAF will pass through it to strike them as if it were immaterial.

Similar effects may apply to other Creo spells that are 'shot' at targets without a rego effect.

Edit: This also suggests an idea to me. A Creo(Rego) Ignem version, perhaps +1 magnitude, that is actually fired in the sense we're all imagining, and hits like a gust of wind (only made of fire) strong enough to knock someone off their feet. I might even let a spell like that do some lesser 'splash' damage to nearby things as the fire impacts its target and scatters before the spell ends.

Edit #2: Yes, I realize this could alternately be a Creo Ignem(Auram) effect. I think it works either way; either you're projecting the fire forcefully, or you make wind out of fire that projects itself. It's another case of more than one way to do the same thing in hermetic magic.