Automatic counterspelling talisman

Along the lines of recognizing words and gestures: Magic items can be given specific words or gestures to activate them. So they should be able to recognize certain words and gestures. I figure it's sort of like my Russian. I know a pile of disconnected words and phrases randomly picked over the years being around so many eastern European dancers, and I can recognize those words and phrases, but I really can't speak Russian at all, also meaning I wouldn't recognize different conjugations of verbs, for example. Recognizing those words is just matching sounds as opposed to being able to understand language.

On the flip side: Are the gestures really the same? Does one specific gesture always show up in Rego magic, for instance? Or might that be like asking if one specific word always shows up when you're speaking in the 2nd person? If it's always exactly that gesture, there probably isn't any interpretation needed, just spotting it. I say probably, for cases like casting ReTe to move a branch and so using an Herbam requisite - will Herbam show with the same sign and cause confusion with Terram? But if there are variations on gestures like there are variations in speaking in the 2nd person, then this may fall in the category of complex interpretation.

Maybe present those issue to the SG for an in-saga decision on that before fretting too much?

...the oldies that played ArmV3 (...more rules dont necessarily make a game better, alot of felling got lost in ruleing up) great eachother with the intellego sign (or in somecases CrIg) :wink:

Yes, I'm aware of those old ones. But I don't think anything specific has been stated in ArM5 to match those. Besides which, many rule have changed, and I think for the better. For example, I also know how to generate unlimited Vis of any Form in ArM3.

Just going for the visual or audible of casting have some big disadvantages

  1. What if the enemy use spontaneous magic instead of wide known formulaic spells?
  2. If the enemy simply take the -15 penalty to cast without voice and gestures? (like a Bjornaer in heartbeast form)
  3. If (s)he use nonstandard gestures and voice like nearly the whole Thebes Tribunal who use Greek instead of Latin
  4. If the enemy use the magic from outside of the visual range (get a arcane connection and use intangible tunnel)
  5. Magic items also go past your visual and audible casting confirmation for the trigger.
    That just some way what a hermetic magus can do to counter such a talisman and if we look at creatures with might, hedge mages, holy or infernal traditions then all your knowledge about hermetic casting you might have programmed in the talisman are useless.

You are talking of fast-cast defense against magic, as described here:

and here:

There is so far no way an item can do fast casting. HoH:S p.33 Fast Trigger is by far too weak for this. Your troupe would need to assign a Breakthrough type for it, and the magus of Bitter work away at that Breakthrough then. Without fast casting, fast-cast defense against magic isn't viable: the defending item would be always too late.

The other big issue is, that the defensive fast caster must know the Hermetic Form that governs that magic. And Hermetic magic cannot even create or imbue knowledge into another mind, let alone into a thing without a mind. See:

So making an enchanted device know Hermetic Forms is another big Breakthrough your troupe needs to assign a type to, and Bitter's magus needs to work on. To assess its difficulty, this may be helpful:

The easiest way to create something like an enchanted device independently fast casting defenses against magic might be:
(1) Find, catch and subdue an intelligent and pretty special spirit. (A troupe decision needs to be made, whether such a spirit exists.)
(2) Teach it Magic Theory and all the Forms. (And few spirits will be able to learn that.)
(3) Bind that spirit into an item. (Most spirits resent this. The TMRE p.27f Minor Hermetic Virtue Spell Binding might help here.)
(4) Give it direct and ultra-fast control of the enchantments in that item, so it can use them to defend against spells. (There is still a Breakthrough required for this. But HP p.97f Passing the Reins of Corpus might give some ideas.)

If the bound spirit is not 100% loyal, such an item would be a huge liability and danger for the magus, who bound the spirit into it.


Thank you very much One Shot, as always very well constructed argumentation !

I underestimated the fast casting issue.

I'm more or less convinced of the rest, the fact that objects already recognize words of command still bothers me a little.

As a side note :

Anyway there are still application of the breakthrough even without a sentient cooperative spirit : If I enchant an unraveling the fabric of ignem enchantment to triggers to the word of command "Ignem" the spell triggers (too late without the breakthrough ) if anyone speaks the words.

From the description you give the only "easy way" to accomplish this is to get the ghost of a dead Hermetic magus friend (maybe by killing your apprentice, making it appear like an accident if you're that sort of character), then you get the perception.

You then still have to make a Breakthrough.

Well that's hard, but that's more potent than what you accomplish with a simple spell...

It occurs to me that a talisman that is always looking for spells being cast will also find ones that are not directly targeted at the talisman's owner. Wouldn't the item also try to counter the BoAF that a friendly magus is trying to cast at the attacking giant? Also, could an object that is attempting to detect magic being cast in the area be considered spying on another magus in some situations?

Indeed, I explained earlier how I could concentrate to stop the effect.

Where is the relative speed of Fast Trigger discussed? AFAIK, there's never been an adequate discussion of the relative speeds of this enhancement, the Fast Casting mastery ability, the Fast Caster minor virtue, and the general fast casting rules that any magus can use for spontaneous magic.

It may also depend on what rules you're using. Using LoM rules, you can delay an action with an item. I'd need to double-check if that works for counter-spelling.

ArM5 p.83 Fast Casting describes a method to "cast a Spontaneous spell extremely quickly, as a response to an attack or other surprising event". If you have mastered a Formulaic spell for Fast Casting (ArM5 p.87), you "may Fast Cast the mastered spell according to the rules for Fast Casting Spontaneous spells, on page 83".

Which spells you can Fast Cast does not depend on your Quickness, Finesse or Initiative - only your p.83 Fast Casting Speed does.

There are the Virtues ArM5 p.42 Fast Caster and p.45 Lightning Reflexes, and the HoH:S p.33 Effect Modification for enchanted items Fast Trigger, which in certain situations increase your Initiative when casting spells or triggering effects. But none of these allow you to attempt Fast Casting in further situations.


If you look at Ranulfs, I think it is, talisman... Shriek of impending shafts, linked with a 'Set that shit on fire if it approaches fast'. Great effect, so an old flambeau. Works. How fast is an arrow in flight detected(15 paces/hearing?) approaching compared to someone casting a spell to make that work? It would also be useless if it didnt allow for multiple triggerings in the same round; you can imagine the old flamebeau getting a volley of arrows shot at him and them just flaring up and turning to ash as they hit his defense in a spectacular fashion. :stuck_out_tongue:
On this note, InVi hearing, +2 mags for tech and form, is a spell being made? Trigger and cancel it with a perdo vim. ?

And likewise, if one can pull it off, can imagine a mage standing there, spells being canceled as they are thrown at him, not because parma but because his extra layer of defense dispels them as they come in. However, I would have issue making that work on a spell aimed at say a rock, possibly in the offending casters hand, sling of vilano style, the rock is in flight due to the spell, cast at something not the mage, thus indirect effects would get tricky for the talisman to detect and act upon, compromises... compromises.

Isnt the nature of a fast cast defense is 'I cast a spont spell, he is throwing a fireball, ehm... I... I... I fast cast... CrTe! I create a barrier infront of me the spell hits! OH yes! I managed to hit half the level, its canceled, 'The spell hits the temporary wall and explodes, scorching the air around you as its heat disappitates around you, setting the poor grog next to you on fire +5, or the vase of flowers, etcetc.'. An effect in an item can't realy replicate that 'On the fly'/descriptive counter of how you try to defend against the effect. Now in fifth, the 'fireball is just cosmetic! It dosent matter if it hits that stone block you created cause thats not the actual effect'; No, he fast casted against it, if your cosmetic effect is stopped, the effect itself is stopped. 'Fine I'll just take my 'Set things on fire spell' that dosent have a cosmetic effect then!' ...he would still have stopped it given his roll and given effect, he obstructed your vision at the right moment and your spell set the block of stone on fire instead of him'.
This 'Use fast cast defense that creates a barrier to obstruct vision' is quite popular, its simple and since your under abit of stress, what people often say if they must fast cast a defense; a mage in old sage mastered an ice barrier to counter incoming things for fast casting, he used it to great effect, trouble was when hit by a pit of the gaping earth he was suddenly standing on his barrier; that due to gravity went down into the pit, it gave him extra time to get out of there, he was allowed to fast cast a CrTe in the same round, spont/fastcast, to fill the pit under him stopping him falling in, he had to give up his normal spell for that option; and lost a fatigue level, but he didnt take fall damage.

Yes, Ranulf's Staff Talisman (MoH p.114f) works in that respect. It does so because it is a talisman, hence by ArM5 p.98 Talisman Attunement is considered to be part of Ranulf as long as he touches it. Its effect Shriek of the Impending Shafts has T:Hearing, which by ArM5 p.113f Magical Senses it can only bestow upon a person: Ranulf himself, who thus hears the impending shafts shriek. Still these shrieks can trigger by ArM5 p.99 Linked Trigger his staff's effect Defense of the Roaring Furnace as well. Verrry tricky indeed! Don't generalize without having first checked the way it works across the books!

That wouldn't work: there is so far no InVi spell or effect detecting, whether an Hermetic spell is just being made. Not even HP p.82f Defending Against Intangible Tunnels has one - and there it would be most useful.
Once a spell or effect has been made, it is active magic, can be detected and PeVi-ed for sure. But then it already has taken its first effects as well - so in the worst case there might not be a talisman trying to dispel it any more.

The process of working magic is subtle, hard to trace, and difficult to interfer with by Vim spells and effects. Compare for this



The fast-casting rule to counter a spell makes the whole things impossible without some breakthroughs. However, there are a couple of points I would like to discuss for possible future uses.

To come back to the first point of detecting Te/Fo with a InIm.
I like the approach as a smart way to go around the need to imbue knowledge in an item, instead you predefined a set of conditions (If "Ignem" is uttered then do X), looking like the object is analysing what is happening whereas in fact it just has a set of if... do... conditions. How many conditions can you put in one detection spell ? Should you use "Group" to be able to put ten conditions for each form ? Should you have 150 conditions for each combination of Tech/Form ?

Second point is how sensitive to variation would be a detection spell associate with specific triggers, especially when based on words/gesture ? It is clear that if it is a different language (Greek vs Latin), it is utterly different. But what about accent ? I am not a native English speaker and I travelled a lot and worked in many, many different countries. Between the English in Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Philippines, Scotland, USA and the British English, it takes some time to have you hear used to the different pronunciations if not different phrase construction (and my personal experience was that Scottish accent was giving me the most trouble :smiley: ). I would assume that although Latin is the lingua franca of the Order, there are many accents. All mages manage to discuss with each other, however, a detection spell has no knowledge, thus cannot interpret if po-tah-to is the same as po-ta-to. There are no rule is Ars to take in consideration accent when talking to each other and it is fine: all mages are educated and as long as there is no sense of urgency, accent will never be an issue when if comes to calm discussion.
However, because language is something so specific - a knowledge and not an object - , I don't see how magic could interpret the variation coming from accent. When creating an object with Creo magic, it is always somewhat succesful because magic draw from the Realm of form what the mage wants to create thus knows what a tower or a sword is. Knowledge is a different animal.
How would you manage that in you campaign (assuming enchantment not design to counter spells which come with its own set of challenge) ?

For example, you want to make a cursed item which cast "Weight of a Thousand Hell" each time the name of one person or one location is uttered.

I do remember some bell enchanted with 'Hearing' to detect magic of some sort and trigger something in one book, therefore the InVi +2 mags reference. However this item has 'Hearing' as Target and valid for detection, thus the item can hear; should then not ralufs item, talisman or no, able to detect fast incoming wood on its own and... set them on fire very very rapidly? (I can also see this ending in a forest fire should said item be propelled with some speed through it 'Fast moving wood everywhere: Ignite EVERYTHING) And by this should not an item enchanted to detect magic at said hearing and linked triggers be able to do the same, arrow or spell... they are both fast approaching; Combine this that when using fast cast defense, maybe a mastered spell even, against incoming Mojo, has that spell then not come into effect? You dont cancel the magic before it is cast you defend against its effect. Thus is the magic then not active/formed when you defend against it? and by this should not an item be able to "Dispel" it in the same fashion an item can defend against "Wood"?

We had that here: no need to repeat it. An explicit rule from ArM5 is more trustworthy than an instance from MoH, isn't it?

ArM5 Hermetic spells usually affect their targets instantaneously, once they are cast: no fireballs racing over the battlefield to and from, and no instances of mind control searching for their targets. ArM5 p.155 Wielding the Invisible Sling instantaneously grabs the intended mundane projectile - and then takes a little time to hurl it: this is due to its specific design.

Read this all up again in ArM5 p.83 Fast Casting: while your opponent still casts his spell, you first derive its basic characteristics with magical knowledge and observation, and second fast cast your defense. So your defense spell might be up at the moment your opponent has completed his spell.


I see you pushing your intepretation as truth in that thread, the thread being a discussion about it; not you sitting on the true intepretation, arguing as if your truth is the valid one. Naturaly this is what one do in a debate, but qouting it to prove the issue settled? :stuck_out_tongue:
By the logic presented in that thread about perdo vim wards and someone saying 'It was the consenus pevi couldnt be used that way before some book' and you basicly saying 'What consensus? It seemed logical to me all the time'
Should we not intepret not once, but atleast Twice, the use of Hearing and possibly other 'Sensory targets' in effects/items in later books it as an intended feature? The ability to bestow a "sense" upon an item, without to much trouble should one wish to do so? :wink:

You are new, and brought up Assassin's Bell once more: so I naturally refer you to the thread where exactly this aspect of Assassin's Bell was already discussed quite conclusively.


Here's what I don't follow: You say because it's a Talisman it can fast cast the spell as a in-combat counter. How does being a Talisman allow that if the argument is being made that another invested item cannot? I get what you're saying about using Ranulf's senses, but you're saying the whole thing works because it's his Talisman, and I can't find in your argument how you say a Talisman can fast cast if another item cannot.

I'm not so sure about this one. I've allowed InVi to help Magi detect incoming spells in the past, with the understanding that the can sense the magical energies gathering.

Per AM5 pg.83 (emphasis mine):

Even if the target Magus can't see, here, or understand the gestures of the caster, he can figure out the form. I believe that this is by sensing powerful magics, which are more obvious the higher the magnitude.