Can magi sense vis? Number 2 in a series of Stupid Questions

I ran my second session of my new ARS MAGICA campaign (it may not run: one of the players doesn't like the system and I'm not too sure how much three of the others are just being polite) but ran into something that I don't know is specifically stated in the rules. Maybe you can help.

Are Magi aware of vis when they see it? Or is a spell needed?

I'm running THE BROKEN WHOHA OF WHEREVERITIS and at one point (TINIEST SPOILER WARNING IN THE WORLD) they come across something that contains vis. I assumed that the magi would know it when they saw it: it makes the thing holding it seem more vivid and real. But is this so?

Nope, though there is a really easy spell. InVi 2 would do the job (touch,mom).

Yup. Boost it to level 5 and (Voice +1, sun +2) and you get a fairly good spell

Magi do not sense vis automatically, but in my saga they scanne dthe surroundigs for it so frequently that ended up creating a pendant that did that for them. it shines when it detects vis. Vis detection devices are quite common in my saga, and have been in the previous sagas I played as well.



Well, where does it say this in the rules? If it doesn't why doesn't it? And why does the introductory adventure emphasise unlikely sources of vis so much?

It doesn't explicitly say they can't no, but it doesn't say they -can- .. which is the more important thing ^^ and as people have said, there are given spells and guidelines for detecting Vis, so it would be odd to have those spells if they could just sense it.

If you're wondering why mages should be able to find the vis.. well.. I know if -I- was searching an abandoned covenant, I'd have a detect vis spell of some kind up to search for all the old stores. I'd also probably have a general detect magic up where possible, depending on casting totals.

The best way to detect vis :
InVi 15
R: Self, D:Sun, T:Vision
In a game I played, one of the other magus has always this spell on in expedition. Scanning the surroundings for vis.
(B: 1, +2 sun +4 vision)

Someone with Magic Sensitivity and a kind SG could possibly detect vis. Magi in general wouldn't.

Well, first of all that's the silliest thing I've heard in a long time! It doesn't say they can does not mean that I have to assume they can't!

It's such an important point that it should damn well be made clear, if only by including a spell to do it with. Which would make Intellego and Vis Arts that no magus would want to be without!

And my second point was that if part of an introductary adventure, the very first one that the players will experience, involves itself in finding vis then said adventure should include a chance for players, who aren't going to be as familiar with the background as the SG, to learn about it naturally....

Well, giving players a fair chance to spot vis when they're new to things is fair enough.. but that's the job of a storyguide.. it doesn't really need to be laid out in the books.. .. also.. .. as a couple of us said.. it's in the guidelines.. just because they haven't bothered to write it out as a spell certainly doesn't mean it isn't a spell that most mages would use... the difference is that quite a lot of mages will just spontaneously cast it, not learn it as formulaic.

Also.. .. intellego and vis arts that no magi can do without?.. it's only a base 1 effect.. practically any magus could easily make or cast a spell based off it, even if it's just touch range and momentary, for a mere level 2 spell.

Still unsure which adventure you're on about though.. if it's the broken covenant of calebais, then no amount of intellego vim is likely to help you find vis.. until the veil is dealt with anyway.. besides.. it's not like they -have- to immediately pick up all the vis, they can certainly come back and collect/harvest it at later dates and such.

personal, momentary, taste can do the job at level 1 if the magus is willing to suck on the potential vis.

Does a character with Magic Sensitivity ability get a chance automatically?

This could be hazardous sometimes.. no ?

"Yep, as I suspected, this vaseous black liquid is definately potent Perdo vis !" blackout :smiling_imp:

I have been able to find one line in the Intellego Vim guidelines that implies that you need a spell to find Vis. I am the SG and it's not clear enough for me!

And any way.... Isn't there a logical contradiction here?

The Cult of Mercury had only access to Ritual Magic. You need Vis to cast all ritual magic. Chicken? Egg? How did they get started if there wasn't a means of finding vis other than spell casting?

(And does what another poster wrote imply that you can cast magic if you only have a score of 0 in the required Arts? I've been assuming that you need as score of at least 1. But that's another thing that's not written down explicitly....) (That's Stupid Question number 3.) :imp:

As much as that amuses me, an InVi 3 should be spontable by any magus out of gauntlet providing personal, concentration, smell to allow a magus to sniff out any vis. Many would be able to cast it without fatigue.

The very fact you have a score of 0 compared to no score at all is why you can cast.. it just adds nothing to your casting totals

Also, InVi guidelines, pg 158

Level 1: Detect the presence of vis.

.. .. pretty clear really

We've always played that one can infer the presence of vis. You kill a monster you know there's vis in there and maybe you can guess. Perhaps if pressed I would allow an Int + Magic Theory roll to make an informed guess. But I've never run it, nor seen it implied, that vis stands out. Other than, you know, poor GM descriptions.

"The cavern is empty except for some reddish mushrooms."
"Are there stalagmites?"
"Umm... sure."
"Are they limestone? Is water dripping down them making little pools of water?"
"Fine. Why not?"
"Great.. I gather up as much of the mushrooms as I can. If you mentioned them they have to be good for something."

Also, I've always assumed that once and apprentice's arts are opened one can cast a spell with a 0. It never occured to me to do otherwise.

The rules never explicitly state that magi cannot fly without magical assistance, arm-wrestle God into submission, or charm a dragon into giving up its treasure by "being a really nice guy, all-around;" but it's safe to assume that these are all beyond their ken.

I think your question of Vis detection stems from playing Some Other Game, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I normally run "it" with the understanding that players have a pretty good idea what's magical and what's not, but it's nice to have a spell to confirm. The same can easily be said of Vis, particularly when found in natural forms. Vis that's stored in a container? My money says you need a spell to notice, but it's not my saga.

Well, naturally, one of their rituals allowed them to detect vis...

"But GMN," you cry, "how could they do this?" Simple, says I. There are other ways of getting Vis. It can be harvested from a magical aura, for instance, or from the body of a magical animal. And while you might be fuzzy on whether the stag you just shot down was the mythical King of the Stags of just one helluva buck, when you kill a dragon it's a pretty good bet there's something shiny in there if you just root around enough.

I'll agree that could have been clearer. Abilities can either be used untrained with 3 extra botch dice, or not at all, but Arts aren't mentioned in Chapter 5. I use the rule, and I believe most others do (but I don't recall it being stated, someone will doubtless correct me if I'm wrong) that a character who has not had the Arts opened cannot use them at all, but a character who has can cast spells with a Casting Total of Sta + Aura. This makes the time immediately after his opening an interesting time for any apprentice, as he can suddenly spont many of the level 1 guideline spells.

That said, I tend to put at least 1 in each of my Arts anyway; the Form bonus is generally worth it, and I use each Technique. Specialists will doubtless differ in their builds.

Wasn't this how a certain poisin with the taste/smell of bitter almonds was first tried by the scientists?

Price you pay for a casual spont!

In neither case do the rules clearly state this. It is only implied.

Clarity = good! Vaugeness = bad!!!

I think you lot have been playing the game too long to see how bewildering it is to people coming to it for the first time. I'm really not that impressed with the organisation and clarity of the ArM core rules. Things are spread out all over the place and I have to hunt for stuff. This is not helping me convince skeptical players that they really want to comit to a campaign.