Can the grog drop the wand and still levitate the cart?

So, this came up in the campaign I'm in - a character has a spell that allows the user to levitate and control a large wooden object. (Basically a cart). The spell is R: touch, T: individual, D: moon.

The idea is that he can turn a cart into a VTOL craft.

OK - what happens when he stops touching the cart? My thought is "nothing - it's a levitation spell. You have to start touching it, but once you cast, as long as you perceive it, you can control it. Once you stop perceiving it, it stops moving. (No momentum). But if you see it again, you can start it moving once more."

Assuming that is correct:

The character creates a magic wand that does the same thing (1 use/day), and gives it to a grog. The grog touches the cart, and the cart is now controlled by the grog. What happens when the grog puts the wand down? Does the grog still control the flight of the magic cart?

My thought is "yes. The spell is independently powered at the beginning of the casting, and is tied to the caster. You have to have the grog touch the cart (range: touch), but once you do the wand no longer needs to touch the cart. the grog can get in the cart and fly away, controlling it via his own thoughts. For the next month, as long as that grog can perceive the cart, he can control its movement."

Does this sound right?

Check out the second paragraph of the Ranges section in the ArM5 corebook, p.111:

"A spell that has a continuing effect remains in effect even if the caster moves out of range. A spell that allows the caster to control the effect only permits that control as long as the caster is within range. However, it does not expire if the caster moves out of range, and he may control it again if he moves back into range."

Keep in mind that, in the case of a magic item, the item is the caster.

So, in your case, whether the grog touches the cart is irrelevant. What matters is whether the wand touches the cart. As soon the wand stops touching the cart, the cart's movement goes into an uncontrolled "default mode" (which depends on how the effect is designed -- the safest options are that the cart hovers still or that it gently loses altitude until reaching the ground).

Control of the wand is a different issue. A magic item is not activated by thought alone, unless some magical effect to read the user's thoughts is instilled into it. If that's the case, the grog can control the cart without ever touching it - the wand must touch the cart, and the grog must be within range of the wand's mind-reading effect. Without a mind reading effect, the wand is controlled by some physical activity that a normal human could perceive (e.g. vocal commands or gestures). Yes, you can make the wand operate at a distance, levitating the cart whenever it "hears" a shouted "up". But that has obvious dangers, particularly if the wand has been created without user restrictions (see ArM5 p.99).

However, there may be a way to achieve what you want (which seems to be allowing a grog a Moon's worth of a flying cart, without giving him the wand), with an effect I'd name "Carrot for the wooden mule". Inscribe a rune onto some point on the cart, and a similar rune onto some non-magical object in possession of the grog - say, the tip of a staff. This is a non-magical process. When instilling the effect into the magical wand, make the Rego Herbam effect "the cart('s rune) follows the staff('s rune), with a speed proportional to the distance". Then, a grog sitting on the cart controls the cart with the tip of his non-magical staff very much like the stereotype of the mule's rider who dangles a carrot in front of his mount. Note that the magical effect requires no active control by the caster, so the magical wand need not touch the cart after casting. If you want to be a real munchkin, make the effect with Target:Circle and Duration:Ring and use your magic item to scribe a large enough Ring on the cart (the cart must be sturdy enough that, if a giant picked it up by the portion within the Ring, the cart would not fall apart - most good quality carts would qualify); this reduces by one magnitude the effect compared to T:Ind and D:Moon, makes duration effectively unlimited (until the Ring is broken), and can be used to fly stuff much larger than a Base Individual worth of Herbam.

For some reason I don't like continuous control without D:Concentration, it seems unnatural. It may be because I see Concentration as the easy way to use mind control.

I can see Rego being "follow my lead", using the wand as the tool to control the cart. A more complex way is to name a separate controlling tool at cast time. Good christians will certainly choose reins but witches might prefer broomsticks for better altitude control. The carrot on a stick is another interesting approach.

Cool - this was pretty much the answer I was looking for.

Thanks for the answer!

(Research tool, bibracte forum...)
Check the corebook p99, on concentration :wink:

Yes, I know... but he went D:Moon which is what I don't like.