Casting into an Aegis through IT

In our saga we have found an Aegis of the Hearth around a thieves' guild HQ and want to get in and look around. Problem is we're all just a few years past gauntlet and the Aegis is level 30. Most of our spells don't penetrate so we have to go inside and even then many of our spells don't work.

So I thought I'd open an Intangible Tunnel (to a pebble I threw into the HQ through an open window) from the safety of our covenant where I get a nice aura bonus, then cast spells from there. So here's the question:

Assuming my IT penetrates the Aegis, what are the bonuses/penalties on my spells? IMO it comes down to where the bonuses and penalties apply and it seems that would be at the point of casting (i.e. my covenant).

So in the sunniest scenario, I get all my bonuses and can ignore the effects of the Aegis once the IT is in place. I'm absolutely certain this is wrong, but how? Is the barrier at the end of my IT effectively the edge of the Aegis, in which case each spell needs to penetrate the Aegis all over again? Or is the spell effectively cast within the Aegis in which case I take a penalty to the casting total equal to half the Aegis' level. The former seems more reasonable but sucks. Clearly I am not casting inside the Aegis, but then I have already penetrated the Aegis too.

The situation seems analogous to standing just outside the Aegis and reaching in to touch someone inside and casting a touch range spell on him.

I'm sure this has been figured out already so any guidance would be much appreciated.

All spells would have to "penetrate" the aegis.

Yup, all spells need to penetrate. The IT gives you a conduit for your short range spells to work at AC range, but nothing besides that.


(Sure about that?) 8)

Wow, that needs to be nuked...

There are no stupid questions (but those are the easiest to answer!)

But this one isn't so easy to answer, or not with casual 100% certainty - good question! :laughing:

Aegis does many things - it's clear (to me) that the intention is to hand your mage a penalty in such a situation.
What the text on Aegis doesn't say - but I thought it did - is that anything cast "into" the Aegis from outside is resisted. That would be a clear dealbraker - but we don't have that particular wording. So, whether the RAW actually address this particular situation is less clear - but we'll get to that in a moment.

Intangible Tunnel has no special effect on the eventual Target of any later spells you cast - it only lets you cast them as if that Target were "right there", relative to the Target of the IT, whatever Object* your AC connects to. It doesn't even let you see/sense to the other end - so you'll need to use some "vision/hearing" spell to achieve your ends.

[size=85](* No, "Object" is not a game term re AC's. The IG term is "target" (with a small 't"). No way am I going to use that term here, kthx.)[/size]

Here is a perfectly horrible diagram to confuse your visual imagery of the process:

--AC--> Object of AC

Object --> Targets around that Object.
(The IT spell uses an AC to connect to the Object of the AC, and then later spells are cast to/from that point (the Object).)

The relevant sections of Aegis (which I'll number for reference) seem to be the 2nd paragraph and the start of the 3rd:

[i]1) If any spell is cast toward the Aegis... the Aegis resists the spell. 2) Furthermore, spells that bring objects into the Aegis... are resisted... 3) The Aegis is able to block... spells that are cast before they enter the Aegis...

  1. Magi who were not involved in the Aegis and who cast spells within the Aegis must subtract half the level of the Aegis from all their Casting Totals...

(And this is all re "magi not involved in the Aegis ritual", or without a token.)[/i]

So... Your mage has successfully cast Intangible Tunnel, and now is casting a spell from outside the Aegis. Ignoring any expectation and assumption, let's see where your specific situation intersects with these Rules As Written...

  1. The Target of the spell will certainly be within the Aegis - but is that "toward the Aegis", or has the IT bypassed it? Depends if you think it means "toward the boundary of the Aegis" or "toward the area enclosed by the Aegis". I'd think the latter, but I just don't 100% know from this alone, it isn't specific enough.

  2. The spell brings the spell effect into the Aegis - but the examples only relate to solid objects, Rego'd in. Is this relevant?... could be... or not...

  3. The spell was cast outside the Aegis - but is "entering" through the boundary of an Aegis the same as entering via an IT? I'd think so... but it's undefined in either spell description.

  4. The mage is standing, casting outside the Aegis, but the spell is, in a sense, initiating as if cast inside the Aegis - so does the Aegis then affect Casting Total?... IT allows you to "cast spells on the target" - that means "Range" - so it doesn't sound like this is relevant... maybe, but I don't think so...

So - there is nothing that, definitively, states that Aegis interferes once you have the IT set up and running. Just doesn't address this situation in such a way that there is no wiggle room. On one hand, Aegis is supposed to protect against things like this, but otoh IT is exactly the type of spell that would bypass something like Aegis.

I think it's clear that it implies that an Aegis is both a boundary/wall and an area affect - and I'd bet most would agree. But in this particular case, it's just not made crystal clear whether that is enough.

So, we have to think of this not as a Rules Lawyer, but as a Story Guide - what makes (the most) sense?

For me, Aegis is one of the most important spells in the AM world. I have to assume that it does its job unless specifically something says otherwise. Aegis is an area defined by the ritual - it is both a wall and an area effect. To cast "in" is the same as casting "toward", regardless of semantics. There is nothing in the description of IT that states that it bypasses effects like Aegis - in fact, it says that if something has Magic Resistance, later spells must still penetrate. Aegis is all about MR, and imo Aegis is clearly intended to protect against predictable ploys like this.

So, I'd have to rule "no" - not because I can prove it by the Rules, but because that makes the most sense to me. If a mage wanted an "Aegis Tunnel", they could invent one, but it'd be different from IT, and possibly a minor breakthrough.

Otoh, if you Saga/Troupe/StoryGuide thinks that a vanilla IT spell, as written, is exactly the sort of spell that would bypass Aegis - then go for it! (But remember that NPC's know IT as well...)

The authors and editors often leave "wiggle room". This both saves space (rather than have endlessly repetitive limitations and permissions on each and every effect) and allows flexibility if your Saga wants to go a slightly different direction. If you - your SG, your Troupe - want to go off the traditional interpretation, knock yourselves out! Just think about the larger implications for the Hermetic world if IT can do this so easily... and have fun!

CH, I think you are making a fairtly straightforward thing extremely complciated. Magus is outside the aegis. He cast against something inside the aegis and must overcome the "aegis wall". Quite simple really.


Xavi - a user who (doesn't post very often) asked a question about two spells that are anything but "quite simple, really".

You gave a throw-away answer with no explanation "why". I gave what I thought was a complete answer, walking through it step by step.

Nothing in the Rules As Written fully support your "simple" interpretation. That doesn't stop me from agreeing with it. Accept that.

I'm glad you answered so completely, thank you. It mirrored my own thought process, though much more explicitly.

Just to clarify, my SG will absolutely penalize me in some way or other for this particular maneuver. He does not believe in Capt Kirk solutions to Kobayashi Maru scenarios, and frankly neither do I.

The question for me is not whether I get penalized, but how I get penalized. Am I effectively outside the Aegis casting in, in which case the spells are resisted? Or am I inside casting within, in which case my casting totalled is reduced. Against a level 30 Aegis it's the difference between -30 to penetration and -15 to casting. That's a huge difference for my lowly magus.

(No problem - it is (apparently) what I do. For better or worse.) 8)

I would say the caster is categorically outside the Aegis, casting spells "toward" the area of the Aegis (and so is subject to part 1) of the above quoted text. Part 3) would, imo, be for spells successfully cast outside, and then moved in.)

To me, IT does not imply that the caster acts as if he were at the point of the AC. What it does is allow spells to sense the AC or around the AC, and then use that sense to cast spells at Targets at the appropriate Range. So, if the "Object" of the AC were a chair, and your Target were sitting in that chair (or otherwise touching it), the caster could use a R:Touch spell, and so on. But the spell is clearly cast from outside the Aegis - the mage is never defined as "at" the Object of the AC, thus never "inside" the Aegis.

Note that spells that Target the caster, like Vison of Heat's Light (p 141), would never interact with the Aegis itself, as they merely interpret species perceived by different Intellego spells that allow him to see/sense from the AC.

You are outside casting in (assuming that you are actually standing outside the Aegis). Spells cast through the tunnel are still spells cast from outside the Aegis through the Aegis.

The benefit of the tunnel is that you are effectively "closer" to the target so that the spells you cast can be lower magnitude for the same effect. Which means that for a given Casting Total your Penetration will be higher than if you had to cast the individual spells through the Aegis at Voice/Sight/Arcane Range. Also, remember that if you can open up a tunnel, you presumably have an Arcane Connection to the target, which will be increasing your Penetration Total too.

Similarly, you get the benefit (or penalty) of the aura where you are standing, and the target gets the benefit (or penalty) of her local aura.

Alright, so that question is nailed down. I have a second, related, and hopefully just as easily answered question.

If I have an arcane connection inside an Aegis of the Hearth can I use sympathetic magic to boost my penetration of the Aegis? If not, is it the nature of my AC or the nature of the Aegis hat prevents it?

"Penetration is the ability of a spell or other magical ability to get through any magic resistance hat the target might have. Any character with the Penetration Ability can use sympathetic magic to increase the penetration of her magic." ArM p.84.

If I pluck a hair from my enenmy I clearly have an AC to him. If I place one of my hairs in his jacket (forget the other ramifications of doing this) I have an AC to something inside his Parma but do I have an AC to him? If I chip some stone from a statue of the founder of the house in the courtyard inside the Aegis do I have an AC that helps me penetrate the Aegis? If I leave one of my hairs under a stone in the courtyard do I?

The reason I ask is that it seems pretty simple to chuck a half pebble into a courtyard or an open window. I have the other half of the pebble in my pocket so now I have an AC inside the Aegis and can cast IT on it then cast other spells, and so on. The spells are resisted by the Aegis as discussed above but does my AC help with penentration?

First, let's expand on your citation of those rules, page 84:

...This requires that the character (caster) have an Arcane Connection to the target of the magic.

So, the question is - is the "target" of the spell, in the above sense, the AC's Object, or is it the thing providing the MR, the Aegis (and penetrating the Aegis itself)? This rule is not about "targeting" - it's about penetrating Magic Resistance.

So, if casting your IT (or any spell w/ Range:AC into an Aegis), with regard to the above rule is the "target" the Object of the AC, or is it effectively the Aegis itself? Note that the word "target" is NOT capitalized - which may or may not be significant.*

(* This has been acknowledged in previous threads by editors/authors. The Target/target distinction is recognized when capitalization is present, but is not consistent enough to be a rule when not capitalized. So it may be the Target, the "amount of Form affected by the Technique", or it may be the victim of the spell, where the spell lands. So, for example, with Pilum of Fire, the Target is "an Individual amount of flame", but the target is someone/something about to get fried.)

On one hand, it seems that it's clear that the target is the Object - really nothing else could be the target. The Aegis provides MR to that target - done.

Otoh, it's not about targeting. In some ways it's analogous to sneaking a pebble into your enemy's food - once they swallow it, you now have a Sympathetic Connection in their stomach, but not "to" them, and "they" are providing MR. (It might depend on the exact effect being cast.) The difference is a SC "in" their stomach vs. "to" their stomach (and thus to them).

It also worries me that, by the nature of any spell with "Range:AC", they would all automatically have a Sympathetic Connection for such casting. Not that that's against the rules or necessarily a "bad" thing - but I'd want to think more about the long-term implications, what other spells would significantly benefit from this sympathetic connection, and how such a ruling could be used/abused. (Various scrying spells jump to mind, as do teleportation spells.) Of course, otoh (running out of hands, here!) having an AC into an Aegis should be a significant advantage...

I'm less sure about how "I" would rule on this one. I'm not even sure how the rules say it should work, but I think they support it - that any spell w/ Range:AC automatically enjoys a Sympathetic Connection bonus to penetration. But questions as to whether that was intentional, and whether that's desirable, are still haunting my doubts. :confused:

(Maybe someone else can add reasoning to make this issue clearer - Richard? Anyone?)

If the wizard in question wanted to cast a spell against the pebble in his stomach he would presumably have to penetrate or lower his PM to do so, wouldn't he? The pebble is then every bit as much inside his parma as his actual stomach and therefore subject to the same rules. If I carved off a chunk of intestine and used that as an AC the rules would seem clear cut. Is the magus' physical body special in any arcane way?

Part of me wants to say "no diff" and part of me wants to say "very diff" and part "it all depends on the spell" - maybe the coffee just hasn't kicked in yet.

<CREO CAFFEiNEM!>... not working yet...

Perhaps having an AC to one thing inside some form of MR (parma or aegis) does not automatically give you the same access to other things inside the MR. I can cast with penetration from sympathetic magic against the pebble but not against the stomach if you think of the MR not as a shield with a definite boundary, but an effect that permeates everything within its range.

The analogy I imagine is a magus with a magic sword. If he tries to cut off his own hand, the sword should have to penetrate his PM even though it is itself inside the PM.

This seems to fit with the examples of ACs in ArM5, which are all intimately tied to the magus and his body, not just something he happens to be carrying with him. This means that I could cast an enlagement spell on he pebble or move it around his intestines, but using it to attack the magus will require penetrating his PM without a sympatheic connection.

Does that sound right?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say a stone in your stomach would be protected by magic resistance.

Note that this is part of the functionality of magic resistance in general, not Parma Magica specifically. As such, I would substitute 'thing with resistance' for 'maga'. Stone in magus is protected by magus' magic resistance. Stone in covenant is protected by covenant's magic resistance. Stone in dragon is protected by dragon's magic resistance. As would be the grog recently swallowed alive by said dragon who was carrying the stone.

The question is not whether the pebble is protected the magic resistance but whether having an arcane connection to the pebble grants the caster penetration bonuses from sympathetic magic to other items within the magic resistance, specifically the stomach.

Having an AC to the pebble grants no penetration bonus targeting the stomach itself. That's clear.

The question is whether an AC, acting as a Target, automatically provides a Sympathetic Connection to itself for purposes of overcoming a [i]separate[/i] Magic Resistance that happens to fall over that Target. The problem is that the Sympathetic Connection is not associated with the thing creating the MR (as is the case in the example in the book). So it's perfectly unclear if this fits that example or not. (Actually, it's clear to me it doesn't - but that doesn't mean it doesn't fit the rule. That's the problem.)

My "pebble" analogy was meant to illustrate the diff between casting w/ a SC to a target that merely lies within MR, vs casting w/ a SC to a target that innately has/generates that MR.

In both examples, the pebble has no connection to the thing that generates the MR, so the value of that "sympathetic connection" to penetrate MR is in some doubt.

That is - do you only need an AC to any object within the Aegis to target that object to penetrate MR, or do you need an AC to the Aegis itself (somehow!) to penetrate its MR?

I could toss a coin, but it would have all the conviction that implies. :confused:

I guess... if forced... I'd say "no sympathetic connection". I don't like the idea that any and every spell with Range:Arcane Connection automagically enjoys a sympathetic connection for penetration, so I'd rule that the SC must be to the thing that provides the MR, not an AC innately associated with the spell being cast. Largely arbitrary on my part, and I'm far from convinced, but that'd be my ruling at the moment.

(The weekend is upon us - I'm sure we'll get some other viewpoints and opinions.) :wink:

For The Ear for Distant Voices or Summoning the Distant Image, you can use the AC of a person in the Room. I may be going on a limb here, but in the same way Group may be targeted by selecting any of its members, I believe Room may be targeted by selecting anything inside it. Otherwise you would need the location's AC for those spells.

With Penetration 3 and a year-long AC, you'd add 9 to your penetration. You'd still need to generate a casting total of 26 to use Prying Eyes through your IT.

That's my problem - for those spells, you could use an AC from the "location" for penetrating an Aegis while casting with a diff AC that Targets the person. Likewise, an AC from a mage could penetrate their Parma.

But can an AC from a mage be used to penetrate the Aegis? Can an AC from a grog be used to attack the grog and penetrate the Parma of a mage who has shared their Parma with that grog? How is that connection "sympathetic" to the MR in question?

Add that question to the "automatic" factor of penetration with all spells w/ Range:AC, and I just vote "no". (Not an emphatic "no", and admittedly hardly an enthusiastic one - just how I feel atm.)

I think you are painting it darker than necessary. There was a discussion about AC and Group/Room Target not long ago which relates to your points.

First, I dont feel your example is an issue. Penetration is calculated for each (t)arget separately, which means the grog's AC won't give any bonus against the mage. If you hold hand with the grog and it is covered with magical flames. they won't affect you. The swallowed stone is just another grog much closer to your heart. :laughing:

Should Aegis considered some sort of MR for all that is inside? This way the species used for Prying Eyes would require penetration, and setting ablaze a Room might only affect the stone used as AC.

Note that since magical senses seem to follow the extramission theory, there are no species hitting the stone. At least you cannot give the stone senses to capture them. Which means it's an all-or-nothing choice.