Detecting spirits without intellego

Do you think that this spell is reasonable?

Firstly, does a disembodied spirit even have a shape to illuminate? Do some of them?

Secondly, I envisioned this spell just altering the properties of the fire's light, detecting spirits in a manner analogous to how a shower of whipped cream might detect an invisible person. I envision it as the inventor specifically finding a way around his intellego deficiency. But is that right? Does it need an intellego requisite anyway?

Does it need to be realm specific?

This is a spell from the Ranulf thread, but I suspect that there is a fair proportion of folks who might have something valuable to contribute that wouldn't choose to read through a seven year old, twenty three page thread to see it. I'll try and not make it a habit.


I don't think the spell works since there is nothing to reflect off of.

Similar spells could have light that reflects off of lies or betrayal, or infernal influence, or that only reflects off of vis.



Disembodied spirits generally have a shape of some kind when seen by Second Sight.

This feels to me, though, like something that whilst not fundementally impossible to Hermetic Magic, probably needs a minor breakthrough (which might have insight possible from Second Sight related sources). That's not something I have specific Rules backing for, though.

[For reference, my not-actually-canonical view of how Second Sight works is that it can detect (and possibly emit) an unusual type of species which aren't affected by standard Hermetic Imaginem spells.]

On the one hand, a very interesting concept.

On the other, I think there's no way around the Intellego, as main, or as a Prereq. Maybe even Imaginem, to "paint" the spiritual presences, if you are not using Sensory targets (in this case Vision). All spirit-revelatory spells in the books that I can think of at the moment require Intellego:
•Core Vim: "Magical creatures can also be detected. Treat their Might as the level of the effect; for Hermetic magi, use their highest Art. Divide Might or highest Art by five (round-ing up) to get the effective residue magnitude. Again, this requires a different spell, and variants may detect Faerie and possibly Divine creatures. Demons may not be detected." Intellego
•Mentem in Ancient Magic p.50 (New Base 5 [Sense any Mentem spirit]), Intellego
•do not remember at the moment, but there might be elemental spells to detect associated creatures..surely Intellego +Form spells

(It just seems a run around Intellego, as well as craftily using the fire's light as a new range, without even including Vision)

Looks like something that could be achieved with a Major Breakthru, perhaps using Insight from Second Sight, or finding other magical revelatory fires to study.
But it would still be Intellego! :slight_smile:

I would also agree that it feels like that spell would still require Intellego as a requisite... It feels a little like using Muto to transform Bob into Bob Without An Arm to avoid perdo requisites. That said, you MAY be able to use Muto Corpus to give yourself second sight, but that isn't Ranulf's style.

If you're trying to "spot" spirits, would you be able to use MuAu(Me) to change a property of smoke, it's tangibility, into intangibility?

I know that nightwalkers can interact with spirits while straying, so if you made the smoke intangible, but still visible, it would be able to interact with the spirits, i.e: billow around them, and still be visible to you right?

Or would making it intangible make it invisible?

Level 15: Make a mind or spirit visible. (Imaginem requisite) is a MuMe guideline in the core book.

I would argue no.

  • then used with T: Room, Circle or other "area of Effect" Target can be very helpful.
    Though obviously you'd have to penetrate.

Just because I'm presenting counterarguments doesn't mean I disagree with you.

As pointed out above a person with second sight can see spirits, presumably what they see would be what the light reflects off of. Most of your examples are unlike this. (The vis example still might be relevant.)

I can't really offer a counter argument to "This feels to me" (No it doesn't!! :imp: ). I assume there spells that aren't clear applications of existing guidelines that don't feel like they require breakthroughs. Can you give me an idea of why this one is different than those.

Would you require a perdo requisite to allow a MuIg(Vi) spell to burn an incorporeal spirit? (that's also on the list for this period) If not, what's the critical difference? Fire naturally burns things, light naturally illuminates things.

I can't see that, species aren't involved here, just light.

There's a muto mentem one that does it without intellego.(thank you Jason)

It's clearly a run around intellego. A vision target here would make no sense as there isn't any magical sense going on.

Targeting the fire to produce unnatural light is perhaps not an individual target? I can kind of see that, but how is that different from using a target individual MuAn spell to give a Saint Bernard (that's a type of big drooly dog for the non-native-English speakers) magically venomous drool? In both cases we're targeting the individual to give a thing that they produce naturally magical properties.

Presumably one could fill an area with maple syrup and thereby find invisibe creatures by their footprints. A spell to do this would presumably not require an intellego requisite.Could someone make clear to me the crucial way that this spell differs from the maple syrup spell where it would require an intellego requisite and the maple syrup wouldn't.

Once again just because I'm arguing the other side doesn't mean I'm discounting your ideas.

Edit: looking at the other guidelines that do similar things, my level may be too low but I'd rather have another round of "is it possible?, with or without an intellego requisite before I do a rewrite.

Nice find. I'd missed that. Too bad it's so weak. It would be cool as a level 4 base. But InMe 5 base will let you detect any being with Mentem-based Might, not just limited to spirits. Meanwhile InVi 5 will let you detect any spirit. Or you could do four InVi 5, one each to detect any being with Might associated with a specific realm, and you could detect every being with Might even if they aren't spirits.

Hey, I also want your spell to succeed, or at least see what the consensus would be on something as similar as possible!

No, I wouldn’t ask for a Pe requisite. Though with just MuIg(Vi), my belief is that this would work similarly to DEO-type spells, rather than physical damage to the spirit’s immaterial form. Though this could be a “same difference “ distinction.


As pointed out by someone else, there’s a MuMe(Im) guideline already in core, which, being Mu is already halfway to what you are trying to achieve, might be worth some discussion, although your spell transforms the fire, and that guideline works on the Me spirits themselves. I don’t think spirits interact with species, the point of the Im req is to transform the Me substance into something that can emit species?

Hehe, did not claim my memory was any good! And this is indeed a very nice find, but this guideline targets and changes the spirits themselves, not the light/fire illuminating them, and requires Im, so we are back to that. As another poster suggested, target Room, or a non-standard Room +1 for the same area, but not requiring an actual room?

Call me Captain Obvious! :smiley:

Hey, I love this discussion! Gotta organize my thoughts.

I suppose what might help would be to consider Second Sight and seeing in the dark alongside lux and lumen and species to see if there might be ways of interpreting how those two visions work. If that is understood, the nature of what needs to be done will be easier to figure out. For example, maybe spirits are technically visible but with species that normal eyes cannot see. That would explain Second Sight's ability to see them. But if that is the case, can you just adjust your eyesight with InIm? With regard to the current situation, that would tell you it's not about illuminating them but about dealing with the special species. However, other interpretations could work, too. I think answering this would help SG's dealing with such spells.

I think the real question regarding magical light to reveal spirits is whether the spirits have an actual form to reveal or not. Demons have a form which is very diffuse according to ROP:I, faeries are generally comprised of incidental matter, a faerie spirit is capable of shedding species at will, and so presumably might be induced to do so by altered light. Magical airy spirits have an appearance which is a reflection of the observer, so they clearly don't have an intrinsic form to reveal, but more of a psychic form... so I would expect varied results from such a spell.

If a wall of fire enclosed an area, Could that area be considered a valid target for T:Room?

While you have over-generalized in your statement about airy spirits (that seems true for some, while others have an intrinsic form), your point remains and is a good one. With such variable-appearance airy spirits we could then also ask if they're like mirrors or really have no intrinsic form at all.

While definitely not an expert, I'm enjoying this discusison. Very... uh.. illuminating.

First, I'd totally forgotten about the MuMe(Im) core base to make a mind or spirit visible. With that in mind, I may argue that you'd need a Mentem requisite rather than a Vim requisite to illuminate the spirit... I'm going to need to read more on species and spirits. Is there any place in the book where it defines how species and ghosts interact?
With regards to Second Sight, this virtue grants a number of bonuses - the ability to see regio boundries and pathways, the ability to see invisible things including spirits, and the ability to see in total complete darkness. This last one leads me to believe their Second Sight is not entirely based on species, and implies that their ability to see invisible things may not be based on seeing the 'invisible' species.

I do really like using the spell to get around Intellego deficiency. I would think you need a Mentem requisite to illuminate ghosts, and a Vim requisite to illuminate demons.. Yeah, I need to do more reading.

As an alternative concept to look at , you could perhaps ensorcell the fire to cause the spirits to give off shadow, as per an invisible creature (PeIm)?

Second Sight does not permit seeing in darkness. There is a separate Virtue for that, or you can get it in addition to Second Sight via Strong Faerie Blood.

Meanwhile, InIm allows seeing in darkness.

I agree.

I'm not sure that I'm getting the discussion around species and imaginem. My original spell had light reflecting off of the spirits. I didn't have light interacting with an image to create visual (iconic) species. I guess I assumed that light and iconic species were both able to be seen by the eyes. Do I misunderstand?

I'd say that illuminating demons is going to run afoul the limit of the infernal and is largely hopeless.

At first glance that seems much cooler than my reflected light idea.

That's what Mentem's for!

Yes - for example, if someone wanted a CrCo spell to give them a bonus to resisting poisons/poison Recovery Rolls, I wouldn't have any problems assuming you could do that in much the same way you can do for Disease rolls.

In general, I'd look at two criteria:

  • What's the closest existing analogy to this thing, and how close is it?
  • What impact will this have if allowed (and is it obvious from the setting whether this impact is part of it or not)

In this case, this appears to be close to two things:

  • MuIg 4 guideline to change a fire to be completely unnatural - often requires requisites
  • Second Sight (given that it's trying to interact with the same "shapes" that Second Sight detects).

It seems a reasonable conclusion that Hermetic Magic doesn't know how to interact with whatever Second Sight does - otherwise magi would be able to create Invisibility spells that also appeared invisible to whatever Second Sight affects and create illusions that foil invisibility, and there wouldn't be a proposed (Major) breakthrough on page 52 of Hedge Magic to allow magi to duplicate the "don't need to penetrate magic resistance" effect of Second Sight for Intellego Sense spells. Obviously those are all Imaginem, but if magi can't do it for Imaginem it seems even less likely they'd be able to do it for Ignem.

This therefore leads me to conclude that one of the "requisites" for the MuIg 4 guideline is "make a breakthrough to work out how to replicate what Second Sight does for this purpose".

[Edit: Just realised that actually, you don't get a bonus to avoiding catching a disease in the first place from a Disease Recovery Roll bonus spell, so my analogy may not be great there. I'd still allow the anti-poison spell, though.]

My impression is that they have no intrinsic form, simply a mental "presence" that is interpreted by the perceiving mind which fills in a lot of "blanks" from its own interests and self-identity before projecting it into the perceived visual image.