Creating a magical compass

So, can anybody help me design a spell that will give me a visual cue to find a location or person that i have an arcane connection to. As in, there would be a visible arrow that pointed to the target, so it could be followed. I'd like it to have Sun duration and obviously Arcane Connection range, but I'm not sure what combination of form and technique would give me the direction effect.

Thanks in advance,


To find a person, check out The Inexorable Search (Intellego Corpus) from the corebook. Sure, it pinpoints the person on a map, but that's merely cosmetic and your "magical compass" would also be an appropriate rendition -- it does exactly what you want, except it has D:Concentration. To find other stuff Intellego would be appropriate.

A dowsing fork would work, too. So would what a friend of mine calls a "bump" - a sense that when facing that way, you just know it's the right way (the context is of a person who knows where north is).

You could also use your pointer finger / index finger as a medium - point without consideration, and you are pointing the right way.

Thread discussing how to find North from a year ago:

Many opinions, some overtly complex.

Would the Dish of Location suffice?

Ok, thanks for the help, you've given me some ideas to work with. I was planning to do it with a spell, rather than an item, the main use for the spell will be for my magi, who as the flaw, has no sense of direction. I was looking to create something to help find his way home when he get lost in the forests of the Rhine tribunal. The concensus seems to be that it would be InCo to find people and InTe to find a location?


This spontaneous effect might do it:

As spontaneous magic, the effect is canon. And most magi will be able to cast it as such rather sooner than later.

As a formulaic spell, discussion about narrowing the potential information requested - like in TMRE p.51 Sense the Hour - is in order.


The issue with that would be, alright That way is North, but where is my destination in relation to North. I feel that the flaw interferes with my being able to make those spatial relationships. To quote from the rule book - You are completely unable to follow directions. North, south, east, and west have no meaning to you, and you often confuse right and left.

Information about where my target is really of no use to me, I need a literal arrow to follow.

Thanks for trying to help btw.


Quite. I just saw the title of the thread and did not read all the posts.

In that case, following ezzelino's suggestion for InCo, or using a similar InTe effect based on the ArM5 p.153 level 2 guideline, should do.


The "location" part is tricky. The issue is that Hermetic magic must generally target "real" stuff. So, it would be InTe to find the direction to a particular stone keep, or a particular hilltop. But if you think of a "location" as a "position" (i.e. longitude and latitude) ... well, that skirts Hermetic Magic, and there's a nice story in Ancient Magic about discovering how to do it (the Hesperides chapter, by Timothy Ferguson).

Note that you can still get lost, even with a magical arrow pointing you in the right direction "as a bird flies", in an environment where obstacles constrain your movements -- e.g. in a cave system, in an artificial maze, or ... in a dense and tangled forest!

To get an intuition of this, imagine being in a (modern) government building, looking for office 1734. The arrow points you towards a corner of your current room, but the only way out is nearly opposite to it. What do you do? Or imagine just trying to find your way when driving in one of those old European cities full of winding one-way streets, even if you only want to leave the city southbound at noon (so the sun is your big magical arrow). Or have you ever gone hiking in the mountains guided solely by a gps with the exact position of your destination? I can tell you from experience that it's really easy to get lost if you do not know the lay of the land.

In these cases, what you need is either a way to extricate yourself from your current maze (e.g. fly up, straight to above your destination, and down -- but even this notion might be incomprehensible to someone with No Sense of Direction) or a way to understand the maze itself, not the position relative to you of your destination. But there are many ways to do it, often suited to your magus' best Arts. Say ... Rego Animal? Well, take with you some far ranging bird who has a nest at your Covenant's, and cast a first magnitude spell (Base 2, +1 Touch, +2 Sun) akin to Panic of the Elephant's Mouse that makes that bird perceive you as one of its chicks who's lost its way to the nest.

If it's just to get a visual clue for the magus alone, I would think it's reasonable for the existing InCo guideline to satisfy this. The level of the spell would increase to 25th level, for Sun duration, and a map isn't necessary. If it's an arrow that others can see and follow, too, I would require an Imaginem requisite and increase the level to 30th level.

FWIW, my corpus specialist regularly casts a spontaneous InCo spell to get a bearing to target. The spell doesn't really provide a sense of proximity, however. YSMV.

Is this actually a spell from TMRE? It's not on the page you reference, although related guidelines are.

Direction North isn't actually something that should be directly derived from an InVi sense of astrological emanations, although it can certainly be derived from them. A certain bit of skill in navigation or at least Ars Liberales is also required.

Use of hermetic magic for navigation is one of the most interesting uses of low-level spells, to my mind. Especially if you connect it with a system of coordinate mapping such as Ptolemy's (without the Arcane Connection effect from Ancient Magic) or better yet the improved system developed by al-Khwarizimi in the 9th century.

Yes, a smattering of Artes Liberales is needed to know about Polaris, basic Aristotelian astronomy and astronomical north. But most magi have Artes Liberales 1 and a positive Intelligence score, which should suffice.