Detecting an Arcane Connection

There are guidelines for PeVi for reducing/severing an Arcane Connection, but they state that (ArM5, page 160, in the Level 5 guideline): "Note that the Range is the range to the Arcane Connection, and you must know what you are targeting, just as for any other spell."

Now, what do you do if you don't know about an arcane connection to you, and you want to find out about it? I can't find any guideline for detecting an arcane connection. I don't have all the books, however, so maybe the answer is in a book I don't have...

I am planning a saga where the covenant is hiding itself from any outsiders. The idea here is for a spell designed to detect any Arcane Connection left by a magus when he travels away from the covenant. That way, on his way home, he can sever any connection to himself and thus keeps the location of the covenant a secret.

My preference is not to use a single spell if you're paranoid. Make a Talisman that detects nearby Corpus material (see HoH:TL - Guernicas section). Use that to trigger another spell to identify to whom the material is a connection (same section). Use that to apply PeCo or PeVi if it's a connection to you. Meanwhile, having a PeVi spell available with multiple casting to use on everything you ever use or make (excepting your talisman, familiar, etc.) should handle the rest. Of course, that's for the paranoid... :smiley:


As Callen said, HoH-TL has a spell in the Guernicus section to detect Corpus material (InCo Base 4, +1 Conc, +4 Vision), which you can then target with PeVim (Base 5 or more, reduce an Arcane Connection duration) or even just PeCo (Base 5, destroy a corpse, gone is the arcane connection). Oh, you can try to examine it to see if it's your first I suppose. In fact, if you are truly paranoid, a constant PeCo effect centered on you can destroy all those shed hair and skin and blood as they leave your body, so you don't ever leave some behind. Of course, you must still be careful about favorite clothing and tools, or anything you make yourself.

As for detecting the Arcane Connection, rather than the material that carries it, I don't remember ever seeing a guideline, and it is complicated by the fact that just because something is an Arcane Connection to you, you are not necessarily an Arcane Connection to it (so you can't use Arcane Connection Range to target it with PeVi). Still, I suppose it should fall under InVi, and obviously a high level base (since Base 5 is required just to detect active magic, and base 10 for strong residues).

Your first line of defense, obviously, is a very strong Aegis.

I agree that you should be able to craft an InVi spell to answer the question "is this object an AC to me?" or perhaps with a larger target, "Which (if any) objects in this room are AC's to me?" Perhaps a duration concentration target smell version would be the more efficient than the duration instant target room version. I don't have a book here to give you my take as to what level it should be from the guidelines but I don't think that it should be preposterously difficult.

On the other hand If you just want to be safe it might make sense to develop a target room or structure PeVi spell to degrade arcane connections to yourself and cast it frequently. This way unless you're spending time on the road outside of areas that can fit the definition of room you can get rid of all of the AC's without having to detect them at all.

There are some problems with that approach. The first, obviously, is warping, since you are under a constant magical effect. The second is that it works only if your target has been under the magus' magical supervision for some time.

In what I'm planning to do, new magi are being recruited by the secret covenant just out of Gauntlet. Before they reach the covenant, they need to be "cleaned" from any arcane connection to the outside. So the senior magi of the covenant need a way to do this. Thus the need to detect existing arcane connections, at least the strongest ones (there can always be a "quarantine" period for the weaker AC).

BTW, the covenant is not really paranoid. They have good reasons to hide. :smiling_imp:

Yes, a strong Aegis works, but only to a point. You could still be tracked up to the point when you enter the protection of the Aegis. I see the Aegis as the last line of defense in this case. The covenant is not worried about magi being attacked through an AC, it is more a case of being located. Or tracked to a point close to the covenant.

So, the question remains. How strong/weak is the "magical residue" of an arcane connection? Would this be under the level 15 guideline for InVi? Or higher?

4th ed had spells to detect arcane connections in the Wizard's Grimoire.

InVi L5 base to detect if an item were an active arcane connection (ie in use by another magus/spell).
InVi L25 (R:arcane, D:conc, but 'optimised' so should be higher level) to detect if anything is in active use as a connection to the caster.
InVi L45 Ritual to do the same thing for any passive arcane connections (ie not actually being in use).

I think that it should be allowed, should be a ritual, and level 45 'feels' about right. Of course, you'd want a PeVi spell (also a ritual in my opinion, and also about the same level) to break those connections. A PeCo version would only work on body parts, so PeVi seems a better idea - you only want to stop them working as arcane connections, after all.

Gilarius ex Diedne

if the covenant is so much hidden, that means I guess that no redcaps come and that it is not officially registrated, so no right on vis sources...
or you want it to be hidden just from non hermetic people?
anyway, the arcane connection will lead to the magus, not to the covenant, as long as he is not in it...

Yes, completely hidden. The Tribunal doesn't know the covenant exists. No visit to the covenant from redcaps. No officially registered vis sources.

This is a bit of an experiment, for a saga with a darker tone set a bit later than current canon (1235). In short, the Order of Hermes is falling apart due to internal strife and external pressure. Many conflicts between Houses, covenants and individual magi. Lots of political maneuvering, frequent Wizard's Wars. Things are slowly sliding to what they were before the Order was formed, when the strong preyed on the weak.

Yes, an AC can only lead to a person (magus or mundane) when it is not within the Aegis. But if you track that person long enough, eventually you can guess the location of the covenant. This is a way to avoid being tracked.

Of course, scrying on another magus is against the Code. But you have to prove it has been done, be alive to report it, and gather enough support to get a positive judgment.

My first solution would be not to let the noob know where the covenant is, either. Develop a Range: Touch version of Leap of Homecoming. When you decide to first bring the noob, you send him to the covenant magically. That way the last place for arcane connections is the spot where you met prior to going to the covenant. Then you could use a large area (Room, perhaps) PeVi effects to destroy arcane connections at that meeting point and transport back yourself. Then connections only lead up to the place where you met to do the Leap of Homecoming variants, not to the covenant itself.

As for ones dropped earlier, that's a lot trickier. As has been mentioned in another thread recently, there's nothing saying that if A is an arcane connection to B that Be is an arcane connection to A. If a connection is active, you ought to be able to identify that because you ought to be able to examine the spell using the connection with the right InVi spells of your own. I don't think there's anything ruling out bidirectional arcane connections in general, but neither does there seem to be anything saying they exist in general. Certainly certain bidirectional arcane connections exist (e.g. magi and their familiars). I would think the biggest issue is first a metagame decision: are you playing with general bidirectional arcane connections or not? If not, getting rid of those connections is going to be really tough. In that case it might even be easier to change or protect the magus than to get at the arcane connections.


Chirs just reminded me, with his comment about changing the magus : House Bjornaer has a ritual (Secret Name, a minor House Mystery) that permanently severs a magus sympathetic connection to his previous name and forges them anew to a new name, and also cause all previous Arcane Connection to the magus to expire (HoH-MC p.26).

Now, I don't know whether or how your covenant could get their hands on a Bjornaer House Mystery, but maybe they can develop it as a ritual of their own, or find it somehow, and it seems like just what you need.

The junior magi won't know where it is, at first. But eventually, they'll have to be let out of the covenant to do some work, like collecting vis (from secret sources, of course).

I'll take another look at this. One of the senior magi is a Bjornaer, so the source of information is there. I don't think it will work for what I have in mind, but may be a starting point for something developped by the covenant. I'm looking for something that can be used everytime someone comes back to the covenant, mundanes and magi alike.

Most of the previous replies overlook the fact that if you can't detect something you can't target it. The 1st few post work ok for stopping the creation of new AC but if someone already has one at a different location you're out of luck.
Look like some original research to backtrack an AC at AC range

Hmm. Should be possible to use a Shell of False Determinations variant to protect yourself from scrying via an arcane connection; other stuff may be more difficult.

I have another idea for a partial solution that might work but I haven't found a way past the warping. When I bypass the warping (putting the first spell in a familiar bond) I lose a link. Hmmm... Anyway, here it is. Put these in your talisman:

  1. A constant InVi spell to detect a spell hitting you through an arcane connection.
  2. A linked PeVi spell to knock down that spell and everything it incorporates (the connection).

Some troupes might not permit #2, but at least you have a path to follow this way. Of course, there is the problem that the first spell still hits you. Another problem is that this doesn't work when an Arcane Connection to you is used indirectly (such as that InCo Guernicas spell from HoH:TL). So it's really only a partial solution, but I figure we're in a brainstorming talk here and more ideas only help.