Forensic Necromancer question

Can the InCo spells "Physicians Eye" or "Revealed Flaws of Mortal Flesh" be cast upon a recently deceased individual to determine why they died?
Or would the answer "not alive" overwhelm any other information?

In our game it let's the caster know what's wrong with the body, so a broken neck would come up.

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Even if your SM rules that they do not work on a dead body, you can invent a spell with the exact same stat-line that targets dead rather than living bodies.

Though I personally side with Medusa and believe they would provide what the damage sources were on a fairly fresh dead body.


For the lower level spells I'm a little more on the fence, but would still be inclined to have them work on a dead body personally.

But when it comes to higher level ones like Revealed Flaws of Mortal Flesh I would say definitely. I would assume any spell using the "Sense all useful information about a body" guideline gives you all sorts of information that is just as relevant to a dead body as a live one - the physical causes of death don't go away when a person dies (even if they might not match what would be looked for in an autopsy in the modern day).

For example a person who dies from bleeding will leave a corpse with wounds in it and much less blood than there should be.

A person who dies from a disease will leave a corpse that has too much of some humors and/or too little of some humors in it. Remember that humors are actual physical substances in the body - bile, phlegm, etc.

Some things like a heart attack (Elfshot) might not be detectable as it leaves no physical trace behind (the heart not beating is normal in a corpse, so that's not much of a clue...)

So long as the body hasn't decayed much I see no reason why InCo spells wouldn't detect these things, seeing as they are physical properties of the body. With some common sense applied to determine if the cause of death leaves a physical change that can be detected.


Side note - I thought Elfshot was the old name for a stroke, ie blood supply problem in the brain.

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I think (but I'm not very confident, I might be wrong here) that Elfshot was used to refer in a general way to things causing internal pains without a visible cause.

Art and Academy lists it as a term sometimes used for apoplexy (which is described as a heart attack there) but I'm fairly certain both of those terms could also be applied to a stroke, and to some other internal ailments as well.

I would think the difficulty with a dead body is that you are going to get all the information, including the blatantly obvious- "He's not breathing, his heart has stopped, brain function is zero, there is damage to his liver from alcohol and cyanide and his digestion has ceased." for the death of a generally healthy individual.


related question
Would it be violating the Limit of Time to create an InCo spell to determine the time of death?

Say by examining the amount and type of decay to extrapolate back to when the body was alive, and give an accurate post mortem time

I would say no.

In my view you are asking the present about what information it has in order to guess at the past.

You are not asking the past what happened.

Seems more like using a spell from above to fetch that amount and type of decay information, and then doing the extrapolation to figure out the time of death on a Chirurgy or Medicine roll. An easy one, with more accurate information the more you roll, and something odd if you botch, like "oh my, look, he is alive! Don't you see? He's just pretending to be dead! Ah, such a joker, the old Duke..."

"...and I have to admit that he totally fooled me, with his head six feet away from his body, and his guts paving the floor. Don't fear, suffering daughter, he is ok, no need to call the guard. But it was so convincing, I have to admit. Are these pig's guts anyway? How did you do that, dear Duke? Come on, speak, I discovered the prank. Come on, how long can you resist tickling? Guards? I told you there was no need for them, Sophie. Guards? What are you doing!?"

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CrCo create dead body, duration moon

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I think I have made the mistake of overthinking again, and have confused myself.

Etymologically speaking, the meaning of "necromancy" is divination via the dead.
In Ars terms, what does (major magical focus in) Necromancy cover?

Intelligo dead people, corpses and ghosts obviously. Manipulating/controlling corpses and ghosts via Rego. but conjuring corpses via CrCo?
What about dead giants and other magical humans? Drowned men who are currently living? Infernal ghosts?

sorry, the CrCo comment was about how you fake a death with your head separated from your body...

I realise that Silveroak, it is my overthinking that came up with the question.
It just highlights that I am unclear about the limits of what necromancy is.
Surely it can't be "anything involving dead people", otherwise I think I know someone who will argue that a PeCo instant kill, that converts a living person into a corpse, or even a healing spell that prevents a person from becoming a corpse, should all be part of the umbrella term "necromancy"

technically necromancy is anything involving death, not just dead people, although I think "already dead" is an understood boundary on that.

yes, I like the "already dead" clause.

Though in the chapter on "Magic Humans" in RoP:Magic, there are Drowned Men and other revenants. I would have to dig up the book, but I was under the impression that some of them are still breathing, even though they were previously dead?

I think "Drowned men who are currently living" is a bit of an oxymoron.

If you mean "men who almost drowned, but managed to survive" then they shouldn't be affected by necromancy.

If however you mean some combination of "aquatic undead zombie monsters that are/inhabit the corpses of men who drowned" then necromancy absolutely should work.

The infernal ghosts is a bit of a tricky one. I think the canonical perspective is that an "infernal ghost" means "a demon that masquerades as the lingering spirit of a dead person" in which case the infernal ghost is only coincidentally similar to a dead person''s spirit and as such should probably not be considered under the purview of necromancy. In fact I would argue that under this perspective an "infernal ghost" is a ghost in the same way as a ghostly imagine conjured with a hermetic CrIm spell.

However if you take the non-canonical perspective that an infernal ghost is the spirit of a dead person that is also malevolent then necromancy is a reasonable description of spells that interact with the ghost.


If I remember right "Drowned Men" are transformed humans made by magical beings from humans who are drowning.

I don't think it's clear if they actually die and are resurrected, or are transformed on the verge of drowning but before death. Either way the result is a very much alive (transformed) magical human, rather than an aquatic zombie. Bit of naming confusion there.

Definitely not covered by necromancy in my opinion.


In a different direction "Necromancy" could work as a cool theme for the "Premonitions" virtue.

This would of course create a totally different character from one that has a magical focus in necromancy. But it would be in line with the definition of necromancy as meaning "Divination by conversing with the spirits of the dead" or even "divination by examining the bodies of the dead".

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