A hedge witch is looking to turn people away from Christianity, and she has a plan:
If she takes the Eucharist (which is, after all, the flesh of Christ) she can use it to make a curse of emotion, making the target hate Christ, this effect should last years (or, with a season of fixing, perhaps even decades).
Her plan is to distribute this curse in potion form, using various means to persuade (or even trick) people into drinking it.
Would the Eucharist count as an arcane connection to Christ for this purpose?
(Obviously, no-one could ever hope to affect Christ with magic, so it's irrelevant for most things, but the rules on curse of emotion make it relevant.)
I advise to read up on the rampant medieval superstitions about the subject first, starting from forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=754091 ).
If you can stomach it, have the plan of the hedge witch work initially, and then have popular sentiment and superstition take their instructive course in the campaign. Otherwise stop it in time.
Oh, it's definitely going to get people riled up if they find out what's going on; and of course those affected by the curse may not see it as a bad thing (after all, the curse just showed them the truth...).
The scenario is occurring in Greece just after the fourth crusade (ie. 1204 or so) so it may be easier for it to go unnoticed than usual, as people are going to have plenty of reason to be losing their faith.
Reading up on that time, you will find that the less secure people were in their faith, the more wary and vindictive they were for slights to their religion, and the more prone to violence in its name.
EDIT: You might ponder, what a medieval Mr. Average, knight, priest or peasant, would actually do if he finds out to suddenly 'hate Christ'. OK, in Ars Magica a few demons will appear soon with their propositions.
But given the utter dependence of most medieval people on their neighbours or peers and their opinions, otherwise the victim of the potion will most likely try to remain with his family, role and congregation, and thereby make himself and everybody around miserable.
Bertrand Tavernier with 'La passion Béatrice' (1987) put just that brutal story into the remote Château de Puivert, with the lord of the castle returning from a war 'hating God': no Ars Magica demons, just a family tragedy.
From a purely game-mechanic perspective: the metaphysics aren't compatible. It's a Holy effect that makes it the body of Christ, which makes it a Holy connection. A Holy connection only works for Holy Powers, not for magic. (RoP:D, pg. 48).
From the sound of it, the curse of emotion needs an arcane connection to the target to be hated. So, no - a communion wafer is not an arcane connection to Christ. At best, it would be considered an arcane connection to...the baker who made it, or the rest of the wafers, the church it was stored in, or MAYBE the priest, if he held it for a significant amount of time.
Part of the issue here, IMO, is the mapping of historical medieval beliefs regarding magic to the four realms of Ars Magica. As such, there may be something that medieval Catholics called "magic" that, in terms of RPG mechanics, actually maps to holy power. with that in mind...
That would imply that the sacraments use the general effects, as described in the Holy Powers section. If we assume that the reason Transubstantiation works is because it is a connection to Christ, then it would fall under the following rule:
So - it's a miraculous effect created by a religious ceremony and prayer that uses a holy connection to achieve its purpose: the prayer the priest says over the bread transforms the bread into the body of Christ, with the supplicants then consume to finish off the ritual. This seems pretty clear to me that, in terms of game mechanics, it is a holy connection, and should be treated as such.
EDIT - alternately, you could argue that it works because the Eucharist causes the supplicant to be in communion with Christ - literally being one with Him through the sacrament. In that case, it would fall under the "Communion" target...which is the bailiwick of Holy Magic (RoP:D, pg. 68).
I'm not sure that a holy connection is necessarily not an arcane connection too. It seems like it would be both; an arcane connection produced through the use of a holy connection.
But it's probably best to just say "as you're profaning it, its divine nature is withdrawn" but let it work as an arcane connection to the church (as an organisation) instead perhaps? Again, not very useful for hermetic magi [would need a massive group target to use] but works well enough for the witch's purposes.
Oh, sure - relics are (I believe) both holy connections (to those who have used them in holy ceremonies) and arcane connections (to their owners). So it's certainly possible for something to be both.
That was my second thought - that if Christ is LITERALLY present in the Eucharist, then He's aware of what's going on, and in a typically medieval way, would probably at the least remove His overt presence from the wafer, thus making the whole point moot. I do agree that hating the Church is probably an easier task, at least superficially. However, as the Bride of Christ, I'd say that the Ars Magica mideval Church would probably have some sort of holy defenses against even indirect slander such as this. But that's covered by GM plot points (and arguably the Miracle rules), rather than anything discussed here.
My third though was that, unlike angels and demons (who do not have physical bodies, and as such are only affected by True Names), Christ actually DID have a body. And to argue against the gnostics, that physicality is present in the communion wafer, and thus (arguably) can be used as a (magic) arcane connection to Christ, just like any body part can be, in addition to being a holy connection.
...I would still argue that it is solely a Holy connection. The transubstantiation was enacted using a Holy Effect. A Holy connection is essentially a holy arcane connection. And in reading up on the definition of an arcane connection (AM5th, 60), this seems to describe EXACTALLY what the Eucharist is: something which is a part of a larger whole that you can affect using supernatural abilities. Except the Eucharist was created through holy ritual. And a connection crated by holy ritual isn't an arcane connection - it's a holy connection. (This is pretty much the purpose of the lvl 4 Abjuration effect.) And while it's all well and good for us (as armchair mideval theologians) to discuss the physicality of the body of Christ in the Eucharist, <---- that right there very easily translates into a discussion of a holy connection. Because, really: what else would a discussion of a holy connection look like?
Or to put it another way: creating of a holy connection using lvl 4 abjuration can be completely described as a (minor) variation of Transubstantiation: ie, the target in question is, in a literal sense, in the room with you, just as Christ is literally present in the communion wafer, even if you can't tell that using your normal senses. If that's the case though - then both can be considered holy connections. And as such, if the description of the Eucharist can be contained in the game mechanic of holy connection, then there's no reason to add on the additional arcane aspect.
But that tangent aside, it's difficult to come up with a scenario in which you could use the Eucharist as an arcane connection to Christ in a manner that isn't either sacriligous (ie, trying to affect Christ, in which it wouldn't work,) or else is covered by using it already as a Holy connection with Holy Magic (which I would rule falls under the Holy Magic rules, which requires a pretty hefty virtue).
@KevinShultz: Trying to derive ArM rules on the inner workings of sacraments in Mythic Europe from RoP:D p.74f is adventuresome and certainly not intended. In particular it does not provide game rules, how transubstantiation works and what it does during Mass, and sticks to its supernatural in-game effect, namely the Faith Points gained by Communion, instead.
Let us assume that the Catholic view of transubstantiation is correct and the living flesh of Christ is there under the purely mundane appearances of bread.
Yes, that's an Arcane Connection to the man Jesus of Nazareth. It's also the most Divine soaked material in the world. The relics of Saints can't compare. So the penalty for attempting to use magic on it should be worse than trying to conjure something up in the nave of St Peter's on Easter Sunday. The magic would simply be flooded by Divine energy. In theory you could roll well enough to overcome the penalty. In practice it's just asking for trouble.
That's if the Divine doesn't decide to intervene directly and send an Angel to either smite the blasphemer or (possibly worse) give her a Severe Talking To and tell her how she is wasting her life in foolishness.
I don't see why it couldn't if you want it to. It seems like a good way to develop a story. Certainly, I think that the Divine could miraculously intervene to stop it working. But the Divine might equally prefer to not intervene and let concerned magi, and/or others resolve the situation. The Divine is ineffable.
Also, free speech is NOT sacrosanct on a web-forum. Your right to speech is controlled by the forum's moderators and administrators and can be curtailed at their pleasure. Like any business, they can request that you leave and be elsewhere.
Well, the DIvine is indeed noted for moving in mysterious ways but as a GM I'd try my best to sit on this idea.
Yes, the Divine might be merciful (or just patient) but to try such a thing would be the equivalent of juggling nitro-glycerine. You might get away with it but it cannot be a recommended course of action.
I'm wondering if this is something a PC witch is trying or an NPC plot. What makes a good story out the whole daft idea sort of depends on that.
An NPC witch. She's rather old, somewhat warped, and lives in a (difficult to access) magic Regio.
She's convinced that the Infernal and the Divine are mirror images, and that by destroying the divine's worship she'll remove both it and the infernal; making room for magic to rule the roost once more (with Faerie as it's annoying little sister)
I haven't yet decided how much of that belief is due to infernal influence, and how much is simply wishful thinking. Hell there's even the possibility that she's right, somehow.
The campaign has the divine (and, of course its inscrutable logic) as a significant theme, due to the presence of the 5th crusade.