Finding arcane connections to oneself

Some magi (in fact, all sensible ones I'd say) are quite careful about not leaving around arcane connections to themselves. But what if one escapes their vigilance?

I've never seen a spell to track arcane connections to a target. But in principle, it should not violate any law of magic. In fact, the reason why an arcane connection allows spellcasting on an unsensed target is that "Mystically, the Arcane Connection is still a part of the target" (ArM5, p.84). Then, if the arcane connection is, say, a lock of hair or some other former part of a magus' body, Intellego Corpus magics should be able to detect the connection, and Perdo Corpus magics with T:Part then destroy them. In particular, the level 5 InCo guideline (sense a specific piece of information about the target's body) should do the trick, leading to the spell:

Wizard's Awareness of the Self, InCo 5
R: Self, D:Mom T:Ind
A magus briefly senses all arcane connections originating from his body, if any. He cannot tell where they are, or anything else about them, but he knows what they are and can feel them as if they were still part of him -- mystically, they are.
Base 5: sense a specific piece of information about the target's body

By the same token, I'd say in the round immediately after casting Wizard's Awareness, a magus should be able to cast a PeCo spell (or a PeVi one) with R:Self, and T:Part to destroy any one such connection (which is temporarily sensed, and part of him).

Of course, this may not include arcane connections that do not directly stem from the body of the magus, e.g. a letter penned by him or his familiar. I wonder whether the same InCo would still work (perhaps with casting requisites), or perhaps one could obtain the same result using some unspecified InVi guideline?

I think it should be range AC, since the hairs, toe nails or whatever are no longer connected to the magi. In fact the magi would use themselves as AC to the AC to themselves.

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There is a useful old discussion on this forum with many authors, which helps to better understand ArM5 p.84: "Mystically, the Arcane Connection is still a part of the target, thus making the spell possible." Access to such threads makes the retrieval of this forum so very valuable.

We find there:

In particular, an AC to the caster is not necessary an (ArM5 p.112f) Part of her, or can be targeted by her using a spell with Range (ArM5 p.111) Personal.

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Well, you need to perceive your targets to affect them, and the targets would be the arcane connections, not the body itself, so yes, range should be AC. But while a hair is an arcane connection to a body the body is not necessarily an arcane connection to that particular hair (think that things are arcane connections mostly to one thing --leaving aside the odd things that happen when you consider talismans and familiars and such--, but magi may probably have lost quite a few hairs here and there along their lives), so the body wouldn't be useful for that.

Anyway, If you don't want to leave arcane connections then there are some measures you might take like:

  • Full hair removal
  • Avoid bleeding and losing body parts
  • Wrap yourself in bandages to prevent hair, blood and body parts from dropping out of you
  • Surround you with a bunch of people which lose blood, hair and body parts to confuse the sources (that's what grogs are for for the paranoid magi!)
  • Wash frequently. The destroy the dirty water or cast PeVi spells on it.
  • Avoid sex, in particular, or interacting with people, in general. Never fall in love.
  • Never, ever, ever poo. Or if you do, destroy it afterwards (or PeVi it)
  • Don't never ever leave your lab, and incinerate it frequently
  • Don't have a lab
  • Don't enchant magic items
  • Don't have a talisman
  • Don't have a familiar
  • Don't have belongings
  • Don't write books. Or anything. Get a scribe instead.

...and so on. And then, if everything else fails, have a big Parma score, and get spell masteries for resisting Intangible Tunnels, attack spells, ReCo/Me effects, and so on.

I think these sensible magi ezzelino mentioned might follow some of these guidelines, how many of them depending of how paranoid they are, but you shouldn't allow such a spell to work, because then the paranoid magi would be quite free and these restrains can be full to navigate around for your players when trying to get an AC of someone who is really paranoid. But think that getting ACs is already a complicated business. Think of the Division According to Blood spell in Hermetic Projects: just to get sure that some blood you get is useful as an AC to one target might require a pretty specialised level 25 spell (and then you would need to cast InCo spells on each sample to get to whom they target, spells that might be sensed by the target).


That would in general not work, because ACs are not two ways. See also the discussion I referenced above..

EDIT: @Ouroboros beat me to it.

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I think there is an important point about the law of sympathy to be made here.

According to the law of contagion a strand of my hair was once a part of me, and thus an arcane connection to me. I was never a part of my hair so I am not an arcane connection to my hair. That is fine no problem here.

However the law of sympathy causes tools that I use to become a short lived arcane connection to me simply by being near to me, and by me using them. Likewise there is a reasonable argument to be made that I am a short lived arcane connection to the tools I use, especially important tools. There is also an undeniable close and never-ending connection between me and my hairs as long as they are attached to my body. I think that there is potential for me being a short lived arcane connection to form from me to my sheddings. A connection lasting mere days or hours, even while the reverse connection could last much longer.

This is especially relevant where I identify strongly with the relevant item. So that a person who feels that their hair is a strong part of their identity would form a stronger connection to their shed strands of hair than they would to their nail-clippings. Similarly a person whose primary occupation is as a skilled swordsman would form a stronger arcane connection to their sword (and vice versa) than a peasant levy soldier would to the spear they use while on campaign.

This is excellent advice. 9/10 magi that lost body parts rated the experience poorly.


There have been numerous people pointing out ACs aren't generally two-way. But it also feels like you're not deliberately trying to use the caster as an AC to the lost 'parts'. The caster is just detecting information about his 'self'. Here's a few arguments as to why it may not work:

  1. You're not sensing a piece of information about the target (personal) body, you're sensing a LOT of pieces of information at once: I'd argue that each distant (or close) AC is a separate piece of information you're trying to sense.
  2. The caster is trying to detect the parts, not the whole. Do you think the proper Target is 'Part' or 'Individual'? I'm bringing this up as an idea, since I haven't decided myself how I'd want that to work yet.
  3. You're effectively trying to reverse-engineer the Arcane Connection range here, and I do think it's a clever idea, but I also think that if this was possible, then there would never be arcane connections to magi ever, because of how simple it would be to once a month purge your own ACs.
  4. A possible way to do this similar, but not as powerful, and higher level: InCo T: vision could probably be used to highlight any arcane connections to you in your sight, so you can destroy them. Or...You could probably use the spell you wrote here to find parts of yourself that are going to drop off as ACs soon, notice loose hairs, flaking skin, leaking wounds, etc that are close to 'shedding' ACs for you to remove.
  5. if you allow the Wizards Awareness of Self to work, consider the need of casting requisites to detect non-corpus ACs, since you should probably detect all or none rather than only the Corpus subset.
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Exactly! I thought that was clear from the examples I gave. I never said that a wizard is an arcane connection to his -- say -- lock of hair. But because the corebook explicitly says that, mystically, that lock of hair is still part of the wizard, then mystically (i.e. for spellcasting purposes) the wizard should be able to treat it as a Part of himself. I could not find any discussion on this.

Uhm, ok ... but note that bumping the guideline up by one magnitude reveal all information about the target's body, so we are talking about at most a magnitude's difference here. I still think that "sensing all arcane connections to a body" is a very specific piece of information, but it's a very minor disagreement.

Ind. Because you are targeting the whole, so you may learn its parts. It works in the same fashion of a T:Ind InCo spell that ... uhm ... checks if a bride-to-be is still a maiden :slight_smile:

Well, not really.
First of all, there would be the very short-lived ones. A magus might purge its ACs once a month, or even once a day, but he's certainly not going to do it every two minutes. There might lie a window of opportunity. And once you have it, you might well protect it from detection via magic.
Second, there are some ACs which magi would not destroy, even knowing their existence. A letter written to a loved one (or the lock of hair you gave as a token of love)? The original of your L20Q11 summa proudly sitting on Durenmar's shelves? The arcane connection you gave to your sodales so they can rescue you? Your Talisman, or even just a lowly lesser enchanted device you crafted? Your familiar?
Third, some magi may be just recklessly lazy. I mean, there are lots of people who don't do a medical screening once a year though it would significantly reduce their chances of death.

So yes, I think there would still be arcane connections to be found. Just not that many.

That's indeed another issue I raised, and a whole lot of stuff to think about ... but I'd agree that at the very minimum casting requisites should be needed to detect non-corpus ACs.

and that 10th mage never was quite right since that twilight episode anyways