Divining the location of your new apprentice: yes or no?

So, my character (St. Avery) has Divination and Visions, and wants to use his visions (basically using the Dream Interpretation rules as a framework) to find a new apprentice. The game mechanics themselves seem to be straightforward: it's a base 10 In Vi ("detect traces of powerful magic"), and can be cast on Boundaries - so, he'd have to do the Divination in a large city, or something. Then he'd get a simple yes/no answer ("Is there an appropriate apprentice-level Gifted individual in this city?), at which point he'd have to re-visit his vision to get more precise information. ("Is this person willing to be my apprentice?"..."Is this person apprentice-material?...Where is this person located?"...etc.)

The question is: does the first use of Divination count as scrying? The question implicitly excludes hermetic magi, so my initial thought is "No." However, the Intelligo Vim spell used to model the effect is an area-effect spell, which may hit another magus. So - if it was actually an In Vi spell, then it would potentially be scrying - although if it were set to penetration 0, then it would also potentially filter out any Hermetic magi as well.

But if that were a defense, then I'd guess the Jerbiton would be using large scrying spells left and right... and they don't, so I'm guessing that counts as scrying, even if there's no way to penetrate. But using supernatural effects only to identify someone as a magi isn't generally prosecuted, at least not if the Ex Misc Pralix folks are doing it - so I'd guess a similar effect could be in place for Divination. (Plus, how would you even detect it?)

But getting back to Divination - my thought is that the effect is defined by the question, and the spell effect is merely the closest equivalent you can get in game mechanics - so that you should go by the phrasing, rather than the underlying spell. Of course, that begs the question - how does the Divination know to only target non-magi? And I think that starts to get a bit into modern-day thinking rather than the Medieval paradigm, so I'll ignore it for now.

But anyway - that's as far as I got, before I got stumped and came to you folks. Any thoughts?

That first question, "appropriate apprentice-level Gifted individual" doesn't that contain the rest of the information, essentally?
Besides, apprentice-level? Wouldn't that scry for someone who have already had their Arts opened? (and thus reasonably infer the presence of their master - who could then bring a charge of scrying, if he found out).
Perhaps: "Is there an individual with an untrained Gift in this city?"

Sure, that sounds better - but the issue remains: due to the underlying Intelligo Vim model of the Divination, and the "Target: Boundary", does everything within the boundary (ie, potentially everyone in the city) that has magic get ping'ed, with only those that match the parameters returning true? (in which case, the magi is potentially guilty of scrying.) Or does the model simply give a convenient Ease Factor, rather than describing the underlying process? (And I assume the Divination process is something suitably mideval-esque that does not rely on logical subsets and computer-like database queries to describe relationships)?

I want to say that the Divination doesn't actually affect every magical being in the city - only those that match the criteria.

Analogy - if a character uses an In Me to locate "Franc Dumont, my shield grog" in "boundary: Paris", the character is not guilty of reading the minds of everyone in Paris - only in searching for Franc's. At least, I think that's the way it works. If that's the case, then "scrying on" is only a crime if a magus is in the return set - not if they're in the original target area.

In general, when you target an area with a target-specific spell (e.g. turn all toads in a Room into humans), the spell only "touches" the specific targets. In the toad example the parma of a human magus does not register a spell trying to cross it, and in your case a spell that detects all unopened Gifts in the area would not affect a trained Hermetic magus.

But note that the potential violation of the code you are looking at is quite different. You can "scry" on a magus even without affecting him directly (e.g. turning invisible so you can spy on him unobserved). On the other hand, affecting a magus with magic, even Intellego magic, is not always a violation of the code; it only is if it reveals information otherwise kept hidden by said magus. So, even if a spell did affect all the targets in the area, a question something like "does anyone here have an untrained Gift?" would not count in general count as scrying (there are some very specific cases when it would, but they are sufficiently specific that if the caster had no ill-intent no Tribunal would rule against him).

I'm not sure.

If using an InMe spell, it seems to me that you basically scan every mind in the city, asking "are you franc dumont?" so magi would get pinged, even if only Franc's mind would answer "yes".
A spell that's restricted to affect a specific target ("come to me, franc dumont") won't affect someone else, but, if they are of the right Form and in the area of effect, wouldn't they get pinged?

Likewise, how do you know someone has a gift, untrained or not, if you don't scan him for the gift?
Assuming it penetrates, your spell will check a gifted's individual gift, to see whether it's trained or not. Just like your Inme "interrogates" every mind in the city, your InVi spell will "question" every gift in it.
The only way it'd avoid this is to know someone is a trained gifted individual before it scanned him, essentially breaking the limit of time: You want your spell to look into the future, pick the result of a boundary InVi spell, and give you the answer now, before you've targeted the boundary.

=> The fact that a spell only affects the applicable target(s) doesn't imply that it won't ping on potential targets of the right Form, just to check.

That's maybe one of the reasons why people use spells like The Inexorable Search and Arcane Connections.

Using zero force casting is supposed to be a legitimate way of avoiding accusations of scrying. So just pinging off someone's Parma shouldn't open you to prosecution.

To my knowledge, casting any spell that doesn't penetrate and has no effect on the target due to this is not in itself a crime.

You can forceless-cast Pilum of Fire at a Hermetic magus who has their parma up and its not a crime; Dimicatio tournaments have people doing this for fun.

If any kind of magical recognition - even one that doesn't provide reliable information - counts as 'scrying' then some officious magus somewhere will try and prosecute for scrying because 'your parma pinged because of my spell, meaning you learned things about my actions via magic.' Which will get rejected by any sane Quaesitor before it even gets to the Tribunal floor, and probably with damages for wasting Tribunal time if the magus in question decides to push it anyway.

Any Intelleo spell that bounces off parma doesn't perform any scrying - in the same way that a pilum of fire that bounces off parma doesn't do any harm. You can't prosecute on the latter, so you shouldn't be able to prosecute on the former.

Of course, you could try and prove intent... but that's a whole can of worms in any legal system. Unless your saga is a courtroom drama, I wouldn't bother.

The 'Thou shalt not scry...' part of the Code is about as open to abuse as the 'Thou shalt not interfere with mundanes...' part. Its poorly written, with loopholes you can drive large, heavily laden carts through. Which is probably part of the point, from a story perspective. :slight_smile:

You could make a pretty good argument that it shows if Parma is up when cast directly on a magus, however that can be avoided if you make sure to not who is getting targeted. The other danger is catching a unGifted Redcap or hedge wizard, or a gifted with their parma down and learning if said person has the gift.

Now a well designed spell will avoid those issues. If you cast on a whole city, and make sure you don't know who is in the city, and only get a ping for detecting gifted and make sure to not have penetration you should be fine. The one issue is if you cast on a magi, who has the gift, who has suppressed their parma, and then track that magi down. That would be prying into their affairs for certain. The fact that you have taken a good number of precautions and everyone wants to be able to find apprentices easily will mean any fine will be light, assuming you don't tell everyone "Mr. Wizard had his parma suppressed when he was in Rome!". Doing that would get you in trouble. You could also get in trouble if you accidentially learned our unGifted Hedge Wizard member of the order was in the city when you cast the spell. Now you've learned that he lacks the gift. A pretty big issue. Again assuming you don't blab you should be fine. If you go and tell everyone you'll probably get in big trouble if the Tribunal is fair.

I would say absolutely it is scrying.

Whether it is illegal scrying under the Hermetic Code depends on whether there is in fact a Hermetic magus in the city and whether the effect reveals to the caster any information about that Hermetic magus, including the fact that the Hermetic magus has (or does not have) a certain level of Magic Resistance. If the Divination question is something like "is there somebody with an un-opened Gift in the city", then it is difficult to see how that normally reveals any information about a magus --- unless, of course, it does. For example, if a Hermetic magus has (either through an accident or deliberately) somehow un-done the Opening of his Gift, then this effect might reveal that information, and therefore that magus could bring a case of scrying against the caster (assuming that they knew what you had done).

Remember, spells themselves are neither illegal nor legal, in terms of scrying. It is the particular application and use of the spell that is illegal. It is who you cast the spell on, and what the spell reveals that makes it illegal. And, of course, the offended party needs to then actually be bothered enough to identify the caster, and bring a prosecution against the caster at Tribunal...which they might not bother to do, depending on what actually happened, and the relationship between the two magi.

Also, note that a spell being considered "illegal" is not the only risk. If the spell pings of another magus' Parma, then that magus might leap to conclusions and consider the spell an unsuccessful attack, and respond accordingly.

IMS, I couldn't pick a mage that inherently they would be bothered enough by it to bring it to tribunal.

If a mage did feel their Parma go off (and didn't assume it was a spirit trying an unwise trick) and found out who it was... then perhaps, if they had a stick up their magical posterior. They would then bring it to a Guernicus of decent power who would find out the truth, that the whole issue was rather moot as the scrying was both 1. Accidental and 2. Not designed to find out anything about the mage and 3. Couldn't have found out anything other than what is already assumed (A magus has Parma.)

Perhaps my saga is more lenient on edge cases of scrying than others.

Note: Kidgloves indicated that a PoF forceless is not illegal, which IMS I would say is true. I would indicate that a PoF forceless (or scrying forceless) would quite reasonably allow a magus to defend themselves in a 'suprise' situation. Very difficult to know exactly what was cast on you, especially in the scrying situation.

Flamberius: SUPRISE Pilum! whoosh Aha, it was forceles..

Heartbreakeria: Ahh! Crushing Grip of Clenched Heart!

Flamberius: Oh.. dies

Absolutely. That is why the real issue is what is found out, and who it is found out about.

Finding out that a random magus has Parma is unlikley to be considered very problematic. Finding out that a Translyvanian Tremere magus is hanging around a lot in Rome? That might be considered more significant.

The problematic thing would be finding out a magus does NOT have their parma on. Or worse finding out they lack magic resistance entirely. If the spell is designed well you won't find anything out about magi with their parma up.

Ah, but what's the point in that?

If the spell is designed badly you won't find anything out about magi with their parma up.

You want to find apprentices since finding an apprentice gets you a helper. You do NOT want to find out about magi since learning stuff about a magi gets you marched and killed. (Or fined or whatever.) Especially if you didn't take any steps to not accidentally scry on other magi.

Yes, I realise that is the idea. But it seems insufficiently forward thinking.

A well designed spell would be one that you can use to find an apprentice and can be "abused" to scry on magi. You then just avoid using it to (deliberately) scry on magi (and apologise, pay the fine, if you do accidentally scry on a magus), until such time as you do actually want to scry on magi.

The problematic thing would be finding out a magus does NOT have their parma on. Or worse finding out they lack magic resistance entirely. If the spell is designed well you won't find anything out about magi with their parma up.

As I see it, the spell would "affect" such a magus, but, since he has a trained gift, it would report no information at all to the caster, who would remain unaware of the presence of the parmadown magus.

Of course, the question then is "can divination be precise enough to discriminate between trained and untrained gift?"

Great idea :smiley:
So, a spell to detect the gift, whatever its form?

One of the problems with forceless casting is that the target magus has no way to know that it was forceless. Thus, feeling a spell being stopped by his parma will usually be construed as an attempted attack, or an attempt at scrying.

What magus would just shrug off the fact that, out of the blue, something just pinged off his parma? While he was conducting business in the city?

Now, whether he would bother, and then succeed, in finding out who cast that spell, is a different matter.

Now the question is would the mage realise it at all if there is some weak effect that not even penetrate his parma?
To my still limited understanding Parma has no build in Intelego magic so that a mage could learn about any effects that are there but not get past his parma unless there are some visual effects from it.

Indeed, the magus only knows that a supernatural effect just bounced on his parma. He doesn't know what the effect was, how strong it was, or from whom it came from -- unless there are some obvious manifestations or contextual clues about it.

One could well imagine a situation where two magi meet in a city and, during their meeting, both of their parma gets pinged by a forceless effect from that kind of divination effect. If they are on less-than-friendly terms, each would assume that the other just tried to slip a spell past them... :smiling_imp:

Another thing that struck me during the discussion is that some mentioned that a forceless spell would only affect a magus if his parma is down. That is not so, because the magus would still have some magic resistance from his Forms -- thus a Magic Resistance of 0 at least. A forceless spell has a Penetration total of 0, so it wouldn't get past that innate magic resistance. (See ArM5 p.85, last paragraph of the main heading on Magic Resistance.)

If they lower their parma intentionally it even removes form resistance. Now they normally won't do that, but if someone is casting a beneficial spell on them, or something similar that is a different story.