Detecting Realm alignment

Can Hermetic Magic Detect a creature's Realm?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Depends
  • Don't know
  • Hasn't come up in my Saga

0 voters

OK, I need a bit of clarification on this as a result of this thread:

I can't seem to find a Guideline in the RAW for detecting the Realm alignment of an entity (or for an individual, a magical power, a spell or an enchantment for that matter).

I've just got RoP: Magic here in Oz (Oh frabjous joy etc etc.. as usual ad infinitum) and there's an InVi Level 4 guideline for discerning the alignment of an aura, but that's about it.

I seem to be missing something....



Just my feeling, it's too early to think clearly and I don't have the books at hand: magic should be able to detect faerie and magic pretty accurately, but can definitely be deceived by infernal and divine (though deception might not be the word for divine).

It doesn't refer to the Realm of the aura, but to "flavors" that a Magic aura can have (e.g. cause fear, give an extra bonus to Terram, etc.).

The way Realm identification works, as I understand and play it, is that since you need separate spells for each Realm, "all" you have to do is to cast each Realm's variant of the spell and see which one gives a positive answer.

On closer reading (only got the book today) I realise you are correct.

This "scissors, paper, rock" approach (Magic, Faerie, Divine?... can't reliably detect demons so an InVi spell targeted at the Infernal Realm is unreliable at best... see the other thread I link to above) seems very unsatisfactory to me...

You must penetrate the target's MR to determine it's Might, Form alignment (for vis) etc. so a "no" answer actually is not that helpful.

It just seems clunky IMO and a pretty basic type of investigation that Hermetic magi are likely to undertake when faced with an unknown entity.

Perhaps my question is a bit vague - can Hermetic Magic detect the Realm alignment of a creature with one InVi spell to answer the question "what Realm is this entity aligned to" - nothing about Might/Form/etc, just the Realm. Possible answers would be: "Magic", "Faerie", "Divine", "Can't Tell" (don't penetrate the creature's MR) and perhaps even "Infernal" (for non-demonic Infernal creatures perhaps - the RAW are a bit unclear to me). Note that using such a spell on a demon could result in any one of the above responses, which just goes to show you never can tell... :smiling_imp:

I'm very interested in how others play this.



The try them all and see approach is clumsy, but it does show that Hermetic magic can detect aura flavour. As such, if a low level spell can say, "Are you Faerie?", a higher level one should be able to ask, "What are you?". It's not a new ability, it's just a more complicated application and one few magi would bother with because it'd be easier to invent 4 level 2 spells for auras than, for instance, one level 20 spell.

And that's perfectly fine with me. You never quite know whether your spell failed to penetrate, whether the creature really is of another realm (or even if it is supernatural at all), or if it is a demon deceiving you (in which case you might even get a yes).

In fact, for Intellego spells that fail to penetrate a demon's MR, I still consider that they get whatever information the demon wants them to have.

Same thing here.

Demons are deception incarnate, after all.

That being said, the best realm detector will always be a dozen DEO cast at the target.

Perhaps the text on Page 158 of the main rules:

I have given a sample spell commonly used in our saga on the other thread.


Mark's answer is of course a valid way to detect the Realm - cast all four variants, and hope it isn't a demon.

Detecting the realm with a single spell is not, IMO, supported by RAW. A seperate spells is required for each Realm. If you insist on allowing it, I'd require at least +3 magnitude (one per Realm), making Mark's spell level 35. At any rate the Might is the level of the effect for detecting the creature, and penetration is required.

To lift the ambiguity: Might is the level of the effect you are trying to detect. Higher-level effects are easier to detect, and so are higher-Might creatures, allowing lowel-level guidelines to be used.

Assuming your spell penetrates, of course.

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far - I'd checked the p158 reference but it didn't seem to answer my explicit question when i was challenged to read it from a different perspective by Vortigern.

This is what I'm getting at - whether I'm missing a reference in the RAW.

I understand the guidelines for detecting Might/magnitude etc, but that's not actually what I'm getting at (I think my question could have been formulated a bit better to be honest, so apologies...)

This line of questioning is in response to a discussion Vortigern and I were having about his Goetic character - he pointed out it should be possible to detect a creature's Realm with hermetic magic, but I couldn't recall a reference to it in the RAW.

I'm really wondering if it's possible to cast a single spell that has the potential to "scan" a creature for all 4 Realms rather than learn/cast multiple spells, ie is this possible:

Essential Aroma of the Coy Spirit
InVi 35
R: Per, D: Conc, T: Smell
Any being with a Might score takes on a distinct smell to the perceptions of the caster based on the creature's Realm alignment. The creature's Might must then be determined with a separate spell. Magic creatures give off a spicy aroma, Faerie creatures exude a floral scent, Divine creatures smell of sweet oil and non-demonic Infernal creatures (corrupted beasts, diabolists etc) give off a whiff of pungent brimstone.
Demons can determine whether they are detected or not and can choose to give off any of the four scents or none at all.
The spell must penetrate the target's Magic Resistance to be effective - failure to do so results in no particular fragrance being detected.
(base 5, +3 for multiple Realms, +1 Conc, +2 Smell)

(with thanks to Mark Shirley for the original spell in the related thread)

My gut feeling is no - but it seems a much more elegant solution than having to cast/learn 2-4 separate spells...

Thoughts appreciated.


I don't see why not. Hermetic magic can detect realm already, so this is just adding magnitidues for complexity. The real question is is it worth it, given that the extra magnitudes make penetrating really difficult.

As an interesting side-question, the rules as written mean that it is harder to detect massive living concentrations of magic than minor ones because the spell needs to penetrate. This implies that the Might of a creature is entirely bound within it, and they don't leave traces behind. Following from that, how then can many magical creatures in an area grant it an aura?

It's more elegant, but it's not possible with Hermetic magic as it stands. Blame House Bonisagus for not having fixed that yet. For that matter, you cannot blast supernatural critters from all four realms with a single DEO-like spell either.

Honestly, given how fond my players have been, since day one, to InVi just about anything that looks out of the ordinary, I'm happy to be able to honestly tell them "No, you do not detect any active [color=blue]magic effects on the blood-encrusted child's skull you picked up on the sacrificial altar in the cave under your Covenant" ... now that says nothing about [color=red]infernal enchantments, does it? :smiling_imp:

I think there's at least some notion in the RAW that you could consider the additional InVi effects using the standard Requisite rules, but I would tend to consider that abusive.

However, I'd also note that your example used conc, which I think, given the difficulty of concentration during stress (and how often is examining a potentially mighty creature not stressful), diameter might be a better choice. And, if so, then you can get off the 2-4 level 20 InVi spells for the realms you can detect (I tend to allow Divine detecting with hermetic magic, and I would argue that it is only demons, and not all creatures with demonic might, which are inherently deceptive), and still have the lion's share of your 2 minutes left.

Another obvious choice would be to enchant an item with the four spells to all trigger off the same thing, so that they'd all fire simultaneously... at least, I don't think there's anything against RAW in doing that...

As you know, my questions similar to this one haven't gotten much response, either, which makes me wonder whether everyone thinks the answer is obvious and we're just daft, or if we've thrown the whole community into confusion. :wink:

Hmmmmm... Yes. I was wrong.

You could indeed do it through effect combination (at +1M per additional realm...), and I would probably require yet another effect (and magnitude) to enable the caster to discern between the realms rather than just give a positive result if it matches any of the realms detected by the spell.

This would bring Jarkman's spell to level 40.

Although the ability to just add up an essentially identical effect for just one more magnitude feels wrong. On the other hand, for the same price, you can generally amplify the effect by a size factor of 10, so...

And for Might detection, it is self-defeating given that the spell needs to penetrate.

I will now leave on my knees for a pilgrimage to Durenmar to seek forgiveness from the greater minds of the Order.

Indeed I think by RAW all the standard realm aligned Vim spells can have more realms added to them by a boost in magnitude, or a +3 magnitudes for making them universal. While I'm sure others would differ I consider it an equitable trade-off in penetration for versatility... which I think also makes a certain kind of sense in how a more tailored spell is more effective, but that doesn't mean you can't make a general one.

OK, this is the kind of opinion I'm after.

Sure - I just quickly adapted Mark's spell to promote discussion. It doesn't need to have smell etc but I think we all get the idea.

Probably not.

I'd tend to think it's virtually impossible to fast-cast or multi-cast the 4 different Realm aligned spells as per the RAW and this option is just as "gamey" as the sequential approach in a way...

I think Vortigern makes a good point - the 4-way spell is a trade off of broad sensitivity vs utility. At a higher level it's less likely to penetrate for creatures with higher Might/MR, so it's less useful then and you have to take a punt with a targeted spell. At lower Might/MR it's got a broader application. This fits with a lot of the power-scaling in the system: a specific spell at lower level will often succeed/penetrate when a more generic spell requiring a higher level won't.

I'm pretty sure I'm just daft... :stuck_out_tongue:

I have pretty much hijacked your thread into this one...

I actually think it's not that common an issue, unless you try and create a summoner concept character, in which case it is highly relevant as nearly all your "spell effects" are mediated through spirits etc.



The Bonisagi are already getting a serve on the "original research" thread...

Ah, yes. Caveat emptor...