Designing Spells for a Specific Target

So, high level spells cause Warping unless they were specifically designed for a given target. That's a pretty simple rule. But can a spell be initially designed for more than one target.

For example, let's say that my magus has a wife and four kids. He wants to be able to use Leap of Homecoming on them without Warping them. So he specifically invents a version of Leap of Homecoming to avoid that. Is there any reason he can't design it specifically for all five of them? They're all known targets whom he could presumably account for in the magical design.

It seems to me that the limit on specific design is really that you have to decide when you design the spell who will be a valid target. Later targets won't get the protection from Warping. So, following this example, when his children marry, and he gets grandkids, the spouses and grandkids would be Warped by the spell, just like anyone else.

What do the rest of you think?

Design a group version, with all of these people as targets. Group spells can include any amount up to 10x the standard base.

IMO, if a spell can only have one recipient, you can only design it for one individual...

See Also:

While it doesn't exactly address your question, it was something of a recent topic, though the thread name doesn't suggest that...

Yes, I agree. You can design it for a number of specific individuals equal to your Target. To use Leap on your whole family, make a Group target version of the spell.

Principally the restriction to the number of T:targets is a good idea, but I think it needs to be more generous as a starting point.
T:Ind should allow the caster and one other individual, essentially I think the caster should always be considered tailored and not count toward a limit.

What if the target is structure? Since the spell effects everything included in the structure, how much could the spell be 'specifically designed' for?

And what if you went to all the trouble of designing a Boundary spell? Could that be specifically designed for every one/thing in the boundary?

With a T:Structure a chosen structure, accoutrements, features and fixtures are not warped by the spell; but the objects not warped must be permanent fixtures of the structure. The people within will still be warped (I know that's contrary to the desired point, but I think its a stretch). Seems plausible and not game breaking to me. (joking - is a lab rat bonisagus considered a permanent fixture of their lab?) I see Boundary being the same.

A thought I had earlier on this - perhaps the guidelines for personalisation of spells need to follow a similar design style to the Creo limitations which require T:Ind and magnitudes for size?

It's a good question. Remember that warping also affects objects, though this is usually ignored. A spell with target structure designed for that structure does not inflict warping on that structure. If you want to tailor make a spell for large numbers of people, in theory you could add more magnitudes to Group, but as a GM I would rule the individuals have to be in your lab most of the season, placing a practical limit.

Not a definitive answer based on issues I've seen with some of the spells, but Magi of Hermes provides a large targets example. Lambert of Merinita has some high level Range: Personal, Target: Bloodline spells that he designed to not warp members of his bloodline.

But what if I want to make the spell effect my covenant main building but not Warp the grogs living in it? The spell might very well effect them as well (and would certainly Warp them if they were in the structure when the spell was cast). I know that I'm out of luck with any grogs that might join the covenant later, after the spell is designed. But it seems like omitting the residents of the structure eliminates any usefulness in designing the spell specifically for a structure. If you can't tailor it to the current residents, then you've effectively eliminated the option of tailoring the spell to a structure.

It really depends on the effect description.
I'd happily support a spell to affect Structure and have an effect which does not warp the inhabitants if the inhabitants are not affected by the spell's description - if mags were added for tailoring.

e.g. the grogs are not warped by a Structure spell that keeps the outer walls well maintained. It's a Terram effect and does not interact with the grogs.

For a spell which does interact with the inhabitants my first thought would be to say you can't really tailor one spell for that many different people. That's kind of why warping is present in the setting.
Or it would require a large Mag adjustment due to the significant complexity of all those people, which on a Structure spell is going to make it very high level.
I don't think warping invalidates the Target: Structure, but it is certainly a problematic aspect of using it. Same with Boundary.
Perhaps a breakthrough is needed to allow Str and Bound to not warp?

My thoughts are as follows.

First, the Structure Target specifically states that: The spell affects everything within a single structure." As defined, a single structure starts at about 10 rooms, with extra magnitudes raising this by a factor of ten. Structure is a +3 magnitude modifier, with potentially more for larger structures. So there already are magnitudes added to account for the number of targets - three or more magnitudes. To add more to "tailor" the spell seems counter to the description of what the Structure Target covers.

Second, the collected wisdom said that you could only tailor a spell for a valid Target of the spell. If the spell has a Target of Individual, then you could only tailor it to a single person/item. If you wanted to tailor it to more than one person/item, you would need to invent the spell with +2 magnitudes for a Target of Group to cover those multiple people/items. It logically follows that if you invent a spell with +3 magnitudes for a Target of Structure (+1 magnitude above Group), that you should be able to tailor it for a valid Target of that spell, i.e., all of the people/things that could fit inside the targeted structure (keeping in mind that if I want the structure to be ore than about 10 rooms, I need to add magnitudes). Likewise, if I were to invent a spell with +4 magnitudes for Boundary, I should be able to tailor it to a number of targets that fit within that boundary. I'm already increasing the complexity of the spell to get the desired Target.

I fully understand that it's not a moving target, of course. As I said, if I want to tailor a spell to cover all of the furniture and grogs in my tower, then I need to pick a set of furniture and grogs (who probably have to actually be in my tower for some portion of the spell design) for whom the spell is specifically designed. I do not have the option to add any new furniture or grogs in the future without them suffering Warping. (Note: I'm not equating grogs with furniture. :slight_smile: )

Third, adding magnitudes for tailoring a spell invents a requirement that is not in the rules. No one says that you should have to add a magnitude to tailor a Target Individual spell to an individual. Why would you need to add a magnitude to tailor a Target Structure spell to the contents of a structure? You said in another thread that you were trying to stop adding magnitudes just because things aren't specifically described. Here you want to add a magnitude for something that is described, and is described such a way that it shouldn't require an extra magnitude.

Fourth, adding magnitudes for the 'complexity' of covering all the people in a structure is likewise redundant, You are already raising the spell by three magnitudes to get the Target Structure, which by definition covers all the people in a structure. Why would you need to add more magnitudes? It's like inventing a spell with a Target Group and then saying that you need extra magnitudes due to the significant complexity of all those people. That's what the added magnitudes for Group and Structure are already for.

Fifth, I didn't intend to say that Warping invalidates the Target Structure. I said that if you interpret the rules such that the you can't tailor a spell to cover some of the necessary targets of that spell then you invalidate the rule that you can tailor a spell to avoid Warping. Perhaps I was inelegant in the way I phrased my argument. What I means was that the rules specify that you can tailor a spell to prevent Warping. In my opinion, that necessarily applies to a valid Target for that spell, whatever that might be. In the case of a Target Structure spell, that would be whatever people/things in the structure that would otherwise be Warped when the spell is cast. If some portions of that target will suffer Warping even if the spell is specifically tailored, then I effectively cannot tailor the spell, and the rule that you can tailor a spell is invalidated.

Sixth, saying that you need a Breakthrough to allow structure spells not to Warp again reads a new limitation into the rules that is not otherwise there. The rules specifically say that "[a]nyone subjected to a powerful mystical effect gains a Warping Point, unless they themselves were responsible for the effect or it was specifically and carefully designed to work on them. ... Designing an effect for a particular target requires, in Hermetic terms, that a special version of a Formulaic spell be invented. The spell has its effect on anyone, but only the designated target, and the caster, do not suffer Warping unless the effect is also continuous." In this case, the designated Target would be a particular structure and a particular set of people/things that go inside of it (a valid Target under the rules). Why would you need to develop a Breakthrough to use this rule? You wouldn't need a Breakthrough to tailor a spell to an Individual or a Group; why would you need a Breakthrough to tailor a spell to a Structure?

And I think it is very reasonable to invalidate tailoring for structures and boundaries.

The rules are not clear on this, so its a discussion worth having. I have no idea of the original intent of the tailoring section, but I read it to be directed toward spells that are cast upon Individuals, not structures, boundaries, or rooms. Its why I said I think tailoring spells to avoid Warping should be subject to the same special guidelines as Creo effects using special targets on p.113, they need to be either Ind or Group.

I suggested a Breakthrough as a way of having Room, Structure, and Boundary spells not warp the inhabitants at all. Make it a Breakthrough and the Magus gains a special virtue which grants this power.

I explained my intent badly.

Firstly I was trying to say that tailoring for a very large amount of people should take extra effort compared to tailoring for a few people. Given a spell with T: Group, does it take longer to tailor that spell for 20x dwarves of size -1 vs 3x giants of size +3? That's tailoring for 3x people vs 20 people. Because the workload in tailoring is not detailed we don't know what is reasonable. It is just as valid to say it takes no extra time at all, but that is illogical when Boundary could be tailored for 2000+ people.

I was also trying to suggest what would happen if a Magus wants to have a spell with a Target: Ind, but it is tailored for 5x specific people. Your example of Leap of Frog's Legs, which is T:Ind. Instead of inventing the spell five times, the wizard invents a special version of it which is harder to create due to the additional tailoring, but still the same spell effect, and all the magi's family are not warped by it. I was suggesting the additional Mags might be added to a spell so that more than 1x target could avoid warping. It's a suggestion which is plainly against RAW, so disregard it.

heh, even some magi too.

Overall - If you're able to convince the SG that a Structure spell is able to be tailored to all it's inhabitants then excellent, all the suggestions are moot. You are making a very reasonable interpretation of the rules. However it is also reasonable to interpret that Structure can be tailored to avoid warping the building and not the inhabitants.

What about requiring the Magi construct horoscopes for each inhabitant specifically for the season where the tailoring will take place - thereby the magus might decide that they do not want to create 200+ horoscopes for each grog and animal in the covenant structure.
Each horoscope might only take a few hours to do, but each needs a roll of some sort (Artes Lib?) and may or may not be effective depending on the roll result. This horoscope suggestion is again adding a complication to a process which you view as free by default, so I understand if you reject it.

I support your point of view in terms of interpreting RAW, but don't agree with it.

Personally I'd say go for whatever works. Tailoring to a structure meaning everyone inside the structure is 'safe' from warping sounds reasonable to me, provided you're only casting on the target structure.

The reason I'm happy to shrug my shoulders at this is because we're moving into some fairly theoretical territory here. We're realistically talking about spells of level 45+, because we're probably looking at structure to avoid warping. This provides a very narrow band of spells before we start hitting ritual spell levels, at which point the warping cost pales into insignificance against the vis cost.

And what are we really saving? What high-level warping does is stops people spamming big spells all over the place. But with the 'specific target' restriction, you've got sufficient limitation anyway.

Big magic being big and awesome is fine. It more often than not creates stories, anyway.

The 'worst case' scenario envisioned is often instant-travel. But you're building a one-way transporter room that catapults a group of heroes into danger. That sounds absolutely fine to me, especially since once catapulted into danger they are no longer in the warping-free structure. Or you're basically building a Mercere Portal, which by the Covenants book is a Hook because magic portals really are story hooks. And if you're making a Mercere Portal, why not just make a Mercere Portal? They're honestly about as hard, only you might be able to score a lab text rather than having to roll your own.

The first thing my mind leaps to is CrCo and CrMe spells which boost stats. Now admittedly having them affect target: building means a really high level spell. However, if you allow it even for target:room instead of group it would allow you to have an 'enhancement room' you could bring people through to enhance their attributes without warping, allowing nearly unlimited (except for vis costs) enhancements. The vis cost even disappears if you set the duration for month. spells to boost healing set for room and duration month could similarly avoid warping with a medical room.
Of course if the target is room and duration month the people needing healed might have to remain in the room all month... and that would almost completely undermine stat enhancing spells (unless it was for situational use- communication enhancement on a classroom for example)

The high base level of the spells needed to boost stats will make them all rituals when boosting them for extended durations or at Room targets.

good point, so no point in going with the month duration, although a healing room with month duration might be another issue...

Yeah, it's one of the goals I have for my corpus specialist, to create things that give bonuses to healing. It's just hard since he has almost no free time, somethign always comes up. His latest adventure has ended up putting him in the lab to restore the maidenhood of a baron's daughter...

Neat trick. The real question is, once you learn the spell, how often will she want you to cast it on her?

Just once. And her father is the one who wants it. She's being married off and he is wanting some means of demonstrating purity, whether it is real or not. My character is motivat d to secure his support for the University of Paris after the strikes and also to recruit an agent.