Anamorph spells (HOH:S pg 65)

Looking for how other SGs handle anamorph spells. The way I interpret the description of these spells is that they are simply variants of Disguise of the Transformed Image where you use shadows and shapeless illusions to make an illusion of someone you don't know in enough detail to perform an actual Disguise of the Transformed Image then like in the example given you use props and circumstances to convince others that the person is who you want them to be despite the fact that they never get a good look at the person. There is a Perception + Awareness check to see if you are misled by the illusion or not. Neat twist and sounds useful. All good.

My players interpretation is that anyone looking at someone under an anamorph spell sees who they expect to see. So if you are expecting to see Norm walk into the bar then the anamorph person looks like Norm even though the caster has no idea who Norm is and just cast a generic spell. Someone else in the bar expecting Joe to show up sees Joe instead. That does not match the example given or the description however they point to the Perception + Awareness chart.

The Perception + Awareness chart is completely broken. First off the formula makes Diligent or Loyal characters LESS likely to see through the illusion of their master. So only the lazy disloyal guards see the stranger for who he is. How does that make sense?

Then the chart goes so far to say that it is not enough just to meet the ease factor you need to beat the ease factor by +6 otherwise I just ignore the shapeless illusionary person. So if you know exactly what the target is supposed to look like and make an exact duplicate of them then your opponent only needs to meet an ease factor but if you don't know what the target looks like and create a rough illusion of them then they have to beat the check by +6! How does that make sense?

The chart goes on to say that if a victim fails the roll by enough then they start making up detailed memories of the anamorphed person even though the spell very explicitly has no mentem effect.

If all of this weren't enough then the spell adds a bunch of +3 penalties to the Perception Roll for extra senses which ends up becoming easily impossible for any mundane to make and nearly guarantees that the victim will suffer the worst mind manipulating option on a trivial low level MuIm spell.

How do other SGs handle anamorph spells? What sort of security protocols could covenants use to protect themselves from these spells? Passwords wouldn't work since the victims hear's what he expects to hear (the password assuming sound is one the senses covered in the spell.

In canon an anamorph is a type of spell, not a specific spell. There is one example, fitting the disguise spell you mention, in the box on page 66 of HoH:S. Take a look at Hiding in Plain Sight (MoH p.93) for a significantly different example of an anamorph. As you can see, these two effects are drastically different, but both of them work via anamorphic illusion.

Thanks Callen that helps a lot. So next question how would an anamorph spell interact with an Aura of Ennobled Presence spell?

Both are MuIm effects, one that is specifically hiding your features so you can be mistaken for anyone while the other is specifically highlighting your features so everyone sees you in your best possible light. Do the effects cancel out? Does the most powerful spell take effect? Do both effects stack somehow? Does the most recent spell take precedence?

Taking general case scenarios:

  1. Mage A changes a targets image to a bear. Mage B changes a targets image to an owl.
    a) Neither change takes place so target looks normal.
    b) Mage A uses a higher level or has a higher penetration total so target looks like a bear.
    c) Target looks like an owl bear.
    d) Mage B cast the most recent spell therefore target looks like an owl

  2. Mage A changes a targets image to be covered in shadow. Mage B changes a targets image to be bathed in light.
    a) Spells cancel and target is seen in normal light
    b) Mage A has a higher level or penetration spell so target is in shadows
    c) Target is a brightly lit shadow
    d) Mage B cast the most recent spell so the target is bathed in light.

Are there any canon rules covering the interaction of multiple effects like this?

I would think think there isn't a problem with both running together. Aura of Ennobled Presence can work on many different people of different appearances, while the anamorph is more of a disguise, so a different appearance. So you know to obey this lord and just assumed it was the right lord because you bowed and didn't spend time really studying his face.

I think there are three issues here.
The first is the applicability of anamorphs: people, castles ... ?
The second is whether the entire thing, and the bonuses as provided, "make sense".
The third is whether the result is unbalanced.

I think the entire "anamorph" thing is a bit modern for my tastes, though it is solidly grounded in Aristotelian "category theory" and reasonable. It should apply to anything you can perceive and "categorize". Some of the modifiers do not make sense, though (I agree), and the result can become heavily unbalanced.

This is how we play it.
Making an anamorph is tricky, it requires Finesse, and a reasonable knowledge of the target's way of thinking. It is easiest to fool a single human you know, and who is not paying a lot of attention. To create an anamorph, the caster must declare 1) a target to fool and 2) the general type of object the anamorph represents 3) the Ease factor of the anamorph (the more complex, the trickier to pull off, but also the harder to see through). If the caster beats the Ease factor with a Per+Finesse roll, then the anamorph is created correctly, and any target who does not also beat the Ease factor with a Per+Awareness roll is fooled.

Maximum Ease Factor of Anamorph: 3+ caster's Communication + Guile

  • +1 for every sense involved beyond the first
  • +1-3 if caster tailors anamorph to expectations of target(s) he knows (roll Int+Folk Ken 9+ if known personally, 12+ if known vaguely as a group, 15+ if only heard of).

Caster must beat the Ease factor with a Per+Finesse roll.

Target must beat the Ease factor with a Per+ Awareness roll to notice something is amiss, modified by:

  • +0 if target is only moderately attentive - the typical diligent guard who's been on duty for an hour or more, and is not expecting trouble.
  • -3 if the target is just tired or worried about something else
  • OR -6 if the target is heavily distracted by another immediate threat, inebriated etc.
  • +2 for every point by which the caster's Finesse roll failed (a botch makes success automatic)
  • +1 if wrong target, but same general category (another shield grog)
  • +2 if completely wrong target (not a shield grog, but a magus)
  • +3 if the target is highly alert.
  • Success automatic if the target can afford to spend at least a round examining the anamorph (e.g. because he realizes something is amiss, or someone else pointed it out).

In general, humans can be fooled with the rules below; mundane animals can be fooled substituting Animal Ken for Guile (or animal handling at a penalty, typically -2 for domesticated animals like sheep, -4 for wild but "common" animals like wolves). Supernatural creatures vary wildly: angels are impossible to fool, demons are typically quite easy to fool, faeries are hard to fool unless it suits their role (in which case success might be automatic).