Constantly active enchanted item

Hi all!

I did a quick search, but didn't find similar thread, so here I come.

Is there a way to make a lesser enchantment item be active constantly? The item would be for example a flag containing an effect similar to Panic of the rembling Heart (CrMe lvl 15, R: Eye, D: Sun, T: Ind). The goal is that anyone who looks at the flag, gets under its effect: run away in fear. There is a box titled 'Constant effect devices' on page 99 in the core book, but I think that's not what I need. Can this be solved with the listed effect modifications or somehow else? And if yes, then how much additional level would it cost?


Normally there are two ways to achieve the effect you desire.

  1. Use 'Concentration' duration and have the item maintain concentration for you.
  2. Use 'Sun' duration and give it an 'Environmental Trigger' and two uses per day.

The specific effect you cite is a bit tricky since the range used is somewhat nonstandard (similar to 'Spectacle') and so is ultimately at the discretion of your SG. The duration, however, is fairly straightforward to me: Momentary duration and Unlimited uses would cause everyone who sees the banner to be affected by the enchantment (granted only for a moment, but you could always extend that if you want).

As presented I'm not sure about the effect, as I cannot tell what the trigger action is for the device. i.e. How is the target of the device actually interacting with it? Without a secondary effect to acquire and target people approaching the flag, I can't see an effect like Panic of the Trembling Heart working because of the R:Eye. It would be different if the target touched the flag, or the effect was using a Target:Room with a constant effect (Duration:Sun and two uses).

Also I don't think "Spectacle" can be used - I think it cannot be invested in a device, and requires a mystery cult initiation (HoH:MC?)

I also think you need more than Duration: Mom for the targets to run away, otherwise their natural inclination will return very quickly. A Duration of Diameter is plenty.

What is your intended use for the invested device? A War banner?

This looks like it'd be very difficult with a Lesser Enchanted Device. It'd be very easy with an invested device, since you could tie it to an InIm effect, allowing the flag to perceive somebody looking at it. This probably wouldn't work against invisible beings, but those usually have Magic Resistance anyway.

Okay, you need an item that is Triggered by looking at it. As mentioned, easily done with a greater device; here's how.

Step one, make the power, and make it have a linked trigger. It will probably need Sight range on the power.

Step two, make the power that is the linked trigger, an InIm spell that detects - get this - the species* that come from people's eyes when they look at it. This is Sight target. This is basically giving the item sight**, so that it can discern the necessary triggering action. And because the item can see the triggering action, it can employ the power at Sight range, as it has discerned the target.

*In the Ars Magica paradigm, all sensory information is transmitted via species, which are basically particles that all things constantly emit. Useful information is found in Art and Academe and HoH: Societas (Jerbiton) about the subject.
**Canonically legal, as a Bjornaer mystery script has them doing just this to initiate into Sensory Magic.

Does hermetic magic/MR support a spell that can understand gaps in detection? Like having the spell recognise that there is a gap in the rendered detection due to MR.

Assume that one effect detects the presence of a potential target, using InIm (as above) and it is probably using an area of effect. MR will mean the spell is unable to view the area where the Magus is, but then that in itself is a style of detection. Basically within its AoE it shoots something at what areas which it cannot penetrate with magic.

Write it up as a zero penetration effect, that then triggers something to hurt that area, like a ReTe-Stone-Sling at the spot where the detection failed?

Yes, it is supposed to be a warbanner against mundane troops. Our place is located on hostile territory, so this banner would be a great use against smaller warbands. When an enemy is approaching, we raise the flag and lean back on our seats. It does not really need penetration or any other alternative effects.

My original aim was to create such an item in one season in a lesser enchanted item. :slight_smile: But it seems it is too complex for that, and if I am correct multiple effects (in this case the InIm and CrMe) can only
be stored in invested devices, am I? And does it need 3 seasons to create it (1: opening, 2: InIm effect, 3: CrMe effect)? I don't have my book here right now to check this properly.

Assuming that:

  1. You have all the virtus you need with the right Magic Theory level to use it
  2. Your labtot are twice the effect you want to instill OR you have a translated lab text

... then the answer is yes.

I know that there is a caveat if two magi want to instill effects in the same magical item, but I do not remember if the second magus need to investigate the effect of the first magus or if there is something else to be done (in the case the same magus is not proficient enough in both InIm and CrMe to instill in one season each effect).

You need between 6 and 11 penetration, remember, many mundanes DO have relics or True Faith.

... or are covenfolk or companions, who should not be affected by such area scares. :wink:
So you should not give such a thing more penetration than you can protect all your people from.


I doubt it's so many that you'd need to worry about it. If a band of 100 warriors show up and 95 of them run away, will the remaining 5 stick around, or will they flee in sympathetic panic?

Right you are. Invested items would largely go out of style if lesser items could hold multiple effects. :stuck_out_tongue: Remember that the CrMe effect will be using a Linked Trigger based on that InIm effect, and that it won't technically be a "constant" effect, it will be an unlimited-use item that activates the effect every time it's looked at.

And yeah, as was said, as long as your Lab Totals are high enough, you can do this in three seasons. If it's a project that benefits the whole covenant, it might be worth trading it around... For example, if you've got a local Verditius with an appropriate Craft, they could open the item to save on vis, then you could have the character with the highest InIm Lab Total work the first enchantment and the guy with highest CrMe do the second. These could be all one guy if nobody specializes much in Im or Me (or you might just have one guy do it regardless of his qualifications), or it could be three different specialists.

So mapping the thought into numbers.

The InMe effect: detects if somebody looks at it and triggers an other effect
Base 1(?), +3 Sight, +1 Conc, +0 Ind = 5. So far it is level 5, but making the item maintain its concentration results additional 5 levels, plus 3 levels for the environmental trigger (sunset and dawn) and plus 1 level for two usage per day. This is 14 in total.

The CrMe effect: raise fear in a person
Base 4, +3 Sight, +1 Diam, +0 Ind = 20. Plus 3 levels for the linked trigger and +10 levels for the unlimited use are a total of level 33.

I don't think this works out how you want it to. This looks like it would read one person's mind and keep checking to see if that one person looks at the item. This person would be targeted at sunrise/sunset, so if that person isn't around that person can't be affected.

The suggestion above was InIm for good reason.

True! I intended to write InIm not InMe, therefore is the low base level.

So this combo isn't good for sentineling the area constantly? I mean it activates itself at dawn, maintains the spell effect for the whole day until sunset and triggers the second effect if senses something during the day. Then at sunset it activates itself again until dawn, and so on.

I'm not certain, but I think this would be R:Personal and T:Vision? Sigh... Targets and ranges are annoying in this game. I'll let somebody with more experience make a call.

No , InIm can work. InMe was the problem.

I wonder in such cases if T: Vision is better. I guess it depends on saga interpretations more than anything else. It would require vision, though, meaning yet another spell, though low level and constant.

Yes, R: Personal, T: Vision.
Currently, it's grating someone (1) within sight the ability to sense species, assuming that individual carries said species. :-/

I think the war banner is fine, it's just the idea of it being a constant effect on multiple targets is the issue. The detection aspect is making it harder.

So change the implementation from that to a regular lesser device which casts a D: diameter, t:group, r: sight based CrMe effect to fear the attackers. Add +1 or +2 mags to affect 100 or 1000 targets, and give it multiple uses per day. Add some penetration levels too for good measure. Trigger action is by one of your grogs, perhaps a specific warcry.

I know that's not the item as asked in the OP but it could easily be a lesser device.

The (Bjornaer) Sensory Magic mystery states you can't use its ranges in enchanted devices, so I'm not sure you can do what you want in a single effect without doing original research, since the equivalent of Spectacle is disallowed in an item.

As stated above (I think), the item should have an InIm effect of Range: Personal, Duration: X, Target: Vision that lets the banner detect if someone is looking at it. This effect's duration needs to be either Constant (2x/day plus environmental trigger of sunrise/sunset) or Concentration with X times/day usage plus item maintains concentration (if you want be able to turn the sensing "on" & "off") This effect needs Penetration if it is to sense anyone/anything with a MR.

Effects like Panic of the Trembling Heart can then be linked to the InIm effect to cast on people who look at it. An effect like this will need to have its own, separate Penetration. This effect should have Range: Sight (not Eye), Duration: (how long you want them scared, probably Diameter or Sun), Target: Group (+1 or +2 magnitudes for the 100 or 1,000 targets) The linked trigger will add +3 levels and you will probably need have unlimited times/day.

Doing it this way also lets you potentially add additional effects later on, to say scare animals or fairies or whatever with appropriate spells using the same sensing spell.

An extra consideration might be the spell To Mark with Umbrage from HoH:TL. or even just livery, if there is a way to allow target discrimination with whatever sensing effect you use.

I'd also recommend you consider enchanting the banner pole (or at least a part of it) and not the banner, as this should give you access to more shape and material bonuses, allow the item to be a little more durable and probably allow for more vis (and enchantments) to be put into it.

Another option, particularly if you really want a lesser item, might be to switch sensory mediums. A magical horn with a (R: Voice, D: Diameter or Sun, T: Group +1/2 magnitudes for size) effect that causes fear might work better.