Delusional Spell Invention

I have a character who I would like to have accidentally invent the wrong spell.

She's a Mentem specialist, with interest in shades, spirits, ghosts, etc. Unfortunately, she also has the Delusion that she is haunted by the shade of a magus who she was instrumental in having Marched for diabolism at the tail end of her apprenticeship. She is the only one who can see him, and she has tried for years to destroy him or make him go away somehow via Lay to Rest the Haunting Spirit. She is growing increasingly frustrated that she is the only one who's aware of his presence (except indirectly, as others around her react to her reaction to him).

The spell she wants to invent is something akin to Vision of the Haunting Spirits (p. 150 of the core rulebook), except with R: Voice, D: Diameter, and T: Individual, to make one spirit of which she is aware visible. The base Spell Level is 15, +2 magnitudes for Range, and + 1 for Duration, for a final Spell Level of 30, with an Imaginem requisite (no additional magnitudes, since the requisite is necessary for the spell to work as designed).

However, since the reason for the spell is to make her tormentor visible to others, I would like her subconscious to subvert her research and actually invent a spell to make her Delusion (e.g. the imaginary shade) visible to others. This is also, I think, a Base Level 15 ("Make a mind or spirit visible"), the same as above. As I see it, the Range would be Personal, since it's actually her own Delusion that's being affected and not an external shade. Duration is still Diameter. Would the Target still be Individual, since it's one specific...manifestation? Or would it be Part, since the Delusion that she's trying to affect is a part of her mind? That would make the final Spell Level either either 20 or 25, and still with the Imaginem requisite.

Is this doable, or am I missing something?

And there goes a friend of hers and destroys her mind trying to save her :laughing: Epic fail. I like it. :mrgreen:

To prevent becoming a plant, maybe she could create a "shared delusion" instead?It would be a Mentem spell that makes everybody perceive the delusion as well. CrMe(Im) should do the trick. making it with Rego might be more complicated. Maybe she can reason that the spirit CANNOT make himself visible, so vision of haunting spirits cannot work on him. So she goes there and invents a CREO version of the spell (that is modified to the above suggestion) to make him able to become visible.

Voice Diameter Group (+1 size for larger groups if you want) should do the trick.

The story possibilities here are really great. Well done!


okay, so rather than try to invent a spell that makes the "shade" visible to others, she would try to invent a spell that lets others see what she sees? Wouldn't that be a CrIm(Me), then? The Mentem requisite to tap into her mind and project what's in there? And (from an IC perspective, I'm not sure how that would "prove" to others that the shade is real).

Just trying to make sure I'm understanding aright.

Don't forget the subconscious angle here. She thinks she's working on one kind of spell, and instead creates a completely different kind. Heck, if I were the SG :laughing: I'd through in a free obfuscated casting mastery that would make the arts used in the spell appear completely different from the ones actually employed.

yep, pretty much. I might get muy medieval understanding on how the mind works totally wrong here, but my idea was that it would be Creo mentem to create the image of the delusion directly in the mind of the other observers. They would think that they are seeing something, but there will be nothing there (not even an image). A guy stepping through the door 10 seconds later would see nothing but people attacking empty air :laughing: It is all i their minds.

So, the imaginem requisite might not even be necessary.

This has the advantage that it does not put the mind of the maga in mortal danger each time she casts the spell. She creates a shared delusion, not an image for you to interact with. The cool thing is that others might think that the creature is really powerful since they cannot affect it. people with strong parmas will simple see nothing, though. Maybe the maga will be successful casting the spell only at certain times. The spirit is powerful, and she cannot always affect it with her spell :wink: She will sistematically fail to affect the bastard when powerful (high resistance) magi are around. What a bother, eh? :mrgreen: The real powerful ones that might destroy the spirit will never be able to see it. But now more pwople is claiming to have seen it, though.

I can see a tribunal running crazy with that sort of plot.

In any case this is just a suggestion, obviously :slight_smile: Do whatever you think works best. The story potential of this situation is just great. It can be macabre or hilarious. Or both. well done with the creativity here!


I like this - very nice.

(Reminds me of the one time I allowed one of the Players to have a Companion with Lycanthropy, and everyone else thought they were chasing some NPC monster for several seasons until, one day, one of them blinked and it all fell into place.)

But then it has to Penetrate, and that has its own problems... hrmmm...

VotHS is MuMe(Im), so if we can work within those it would be best, altho' once we toss a serious "delusion" into the mix then almost anything is possible.

If we, instead, make "a thought" visible, then that thought can reappear even if destroyed - and thus we avoid destroying the mind. If inmost companion can transform the entire mind, then why can't a parallel effect make visible one aspect of the mind? Not the delusion itself, but how it manifests within the mind (so destruction of that image does not accidentally destroy and thus "cure" the delusion.)

(The only downside is if some Player wants to then use this as a substitute for Creo Imagonem - but I actually don't see that as a problem, not Base 15. Just another way to the same end effect, another way to skin that cat.)

An alternative would be a spell that makes, say, "the spirit of her delusion" invisible - perhaps a loose interpretation of what a "spirit" is in this context, but not completely contrary to the rules. So the spirit of her delusion is manifested, and if "destroyed" then returns (over time?) as could any thought or fear.

That would, then, change the Target from "Individual" to "Part"? Which would actually put the Spell Level more in line with the level of the spell she thinks she's creating.

Um... maybe, sure, but not necessarily. We'd have to debate how the mind is constructed, and how "a delusion" fits into that model. Are we only affecting "Part" of the mind, or are we expanding the lesser Guidelines and making one "Individual" thought visible at the same Base 15? Either way, we're coloring a little outside the lines, so it works either way. Maybe Individual with +1 more for random accidental "complexity" to make the spell less intelligible to anyone who later might try to reverse-engineer it...

Whichever makes a better story. No need for efficiency and optimization if the delusion 'd s the important part here.

Could the magus still create the core spell, or something very similar; but their delusion alters what they see when it is cast?

I doubt it, as the maga can see the supposed shade just fine, she's trying to invent a spell to let others see him as well. But I could be wrong.

As I see it, with my serf-parma fully cast, this is pretty simple.

This is a CrIm spell, an illusion affecting 2 senses (sight and hearing), with +1 magnitude for moving image, and probably added magnitudes for complexity (the speech). Add a mentem requisite to "tie" it to what her delusion does or say, and you're good.

Takes a much stronger delusion to get from MuMe(Im) to CrIm(Me) - and then stay there.

More, storywise, far more easily noticed by other magi, via words & gestures whenever it's cast.

Mmmmaybe - but either way, the delusion would cause him to rationalize the spell's failure, making the perceived reality fit his delusion (rather than recognize his delusion for what it is).

Clearly, this ghost has a much higher Magical Might and Magic Resistance than he anticipated, and his Penetration is just not sufficient to work this spell upon it. (It's worse than he had feared...) 8)

HoH-S, p.70, has some guidelines for turning a memory or emotion into a solid object, similar to but easier than turning the whole mind into a solid object. By analogy, it should be possible to turn your maga's delusion into an actual image, with a guideline that is actually below the 15 Base and without using a Part Target. And if it gets destroyed (which, as an image, would take magic), say with a PeMe spell, then the maga loses her Delusion for the duration of the Perdo spell (she believes the haunting shade has been destroyed), but since her Delusion is an Essential Part of her being, as a Flaw, then it returns when the Perdo spell ends (Perdo spells cannot permanently destroy properties that are an essential part of an object, like weight).

Actually, thinking about it, I think your best solution in this case is to just hand-wave the spell. She is trying for a specific version of VotHS, fine, that's MuMe(Im) 40 (or whichever level her spell would be). Then you just set her actual spell at that level, same Arts, same Duration, call it a unique spell and don't worry about the other parameters... It will show her imaginary haunt, and if it is destroyed it will just reappear at the end of the destroying spell.

So, it occurs to me that this conversation has been suffering under the premise of inventing a single spell, when things get far more interesting when you take the long view.

Ever play Call of Cthulhu? You don't go bat-turd crazy in one go. It's a slow, gradual process filled with years of defeat and ignominy. You don't give the dog glowing green eyes, you just have the doggie leave little presents in his shoes every time he's thinking about aliens. Is it a coincidence? Or should you vivisect the shoe-destroying mongrel to find the alien hiding inside? What about this time? No? What about this time?

Let your maga make the VotHS spell normally. She casts it. Nothing happens. Her delusion-tormentor laughs maniacally, taunts her, and then says something like, "Do you think it would be so easy? You think I hadn't planned for that? Mu-hahahaha!"

She goes back to the wax tablet. Okay, how come the MuMe spell didn't work? Too obvious an approach? I need to do something tricky. Maybe he's haunting me by projecting his images to me, and that's why no one can see him. So, what I really need is a summoning spell....

She's going to spend a lot of time in the lab creating very useful spells. It's just that none of them work on him. She's going to read a lot of Mentem books. None of them will help. This will frustrate her. And then she's going to start experimenting.

And eventually, she's going to start experimenting wildly.

And one day, her roll on the Experimental Effects chart is going to give her the effect she finally wanted. Or, you know, it could accidentally summon him from the furthest reaches of hell.

It's up to the dice, really.

I don't see any reason it shouldn't be doable, though I'm trying to figure out how it would work long term. If she wrote out the lab text, would she think she was writing a spell meeting the original guidelines? Would someone else finding that lab text think it met the original guidelines, or the real guidelines?

Another possibility that I'd find just as interesting is that she invents the spell she intends, it doesn't work, and she can put effort into figuring out why. Is the spirit more powerful than she thinks? Is it actually not a spirit, but perhaps a faerie? Or a demon? There are lots of ways that you still get interesting stories out of her making precisely the spell she intends.