Giving a maga a helping hand


In the last session one of our magi lost a hand. Now the simple solution would be to use ritual magic to replace it, but she doesn't want to go that route. Being a craft maga, she wants to create a jointed wooden hand and then animate it with magic.

We've been bouncing back and forth with a few ideas, and come up with this so far as the magic needed to operate such a device.

Effect 1
InMe 24
consant effect, Pen 0
R: Touch, D: Sun, T: Ind
This effect constantly monitors the mind of the magus for procedural memories to do with moving the right hand.
(Base 5*, +1 Touch, +2 Sun; +1 twice per day, +3 environmental trigger)

*Note that I (as SG) have allowed that a single type of procedural memory is the same as reading a single emotion. That's my judgment call.

Effect 2
ReHe 18
Constant effect, Pen 0
R: Per, D: Sun, T: Ind
This effect, when triggered by the first effect, causes the wooden hand to move as indicated by the thoughts
(Base 3, +2 Sun; +10 unlimited uses, +3 linked trigger)


  • Effect 1 would have to penetrate to work. This is an annoyance, particularly since it would push the effect above level 30.
  • Both effects incur warping for constant effects, but only the first effect warps the maga, the second warps the item itself. The former is the main problem: it's a powerful constant mystical effect, so lots of warping. Even tailoring the effect to the maga herself means she still accrues a warping point per year.

We have considered making effect 2 as unlimited uses rather than constant, to respond to the thoughts each time they come in. This effect could then be D: Mom or Conc, and would not warp the hand itself (not that this is a great concern). The hand would have to have some clever manufacture to lock in position, but that's within the skill of the crafter. However, I think there would be a round's delay between the impulse to move the hand and the hand responding in this case, so it is not favourable.

To avoid warping the maga, effect 1 could be D: Conc, with unlimited uses and the item maintaining concentration. This would mean it could be switched off at night, and so she could be under its effects for less than half the year (just). However, this seems even clunkier.

So, I was wondering if anyone else has any other ideas how this can be implemented, preferably in a way that avoids warping. The maga in question is a member of House Merinita, so she has considered resorting to glamour, but we were specifically looking for solutions that this rather proud maga could implement herself (i.e. odd mysteries or ancient magics are not favourable solutions).


Make the hand her talisman. Penetration issue: solved, and at personal range.

The issue is the InMe Effect 1, which you should do away with.

If you make the wooden hand a magic item and attach it to the arm of the maga without using magic (there are many ways for this - think pirate), you can have it activate on a specific, subtle gesture of the maga with her arm.
The ReHe Effect 2 can then become a fixed duration effect with several (even unlimited) uses which she consciously controls (like Coils of the Entangling Plants), but which affects only the magic hand. I would suggest to give it a HoH:S p.33 Fast Trigger, and require Finesse instead of manual dexterity checks with it - but this benefits the Finesse of the maga on the long run. Extensive use might warp her prosthetic hand, but never her. And the hand is easy to replace, as she has a lab text for it.

The problems I see are different from warping. Is casting of the spells she has already learned possible with this prosthesis? How strong is the connection of her arm to the prosthesis, and which kind of movements with this arm and hand are possible? How strong is her grasp with this prosthesis?


EDIT: MoH's Gwidion has invested into his Taliman (p. 44) an effect The Movement of a Man, that makes it his full body prosthesis - not needing constant control - with a base 10 instead of a base 3. So there are many decisions still to make about it: but the hand does not need to read the maga's mind to operate.

Is an additional Imaginem effect needed to give the hand a sense of touch the magus can use?

How does the medieval paradigm allow/account for the "phantom limb" phenomenon? Does it allow the item be enchanted with a magical sense that can detect something from the end of the stump that can be used to animate the item and bypass warping issues the mind reading effect might cause?

What about either looking at Terram for guidelines to adapt or using a material suitable to the Terram form? Supple Iron and Rigid Rope (MuTe 10) looks like a good base to make a solid prosthetic moveable. A modified The Unseen Arm/Porter (ReTe 5/10) might serve to animate it. There's also a (PeTe?) spell someplace (can't find it ATM) that allows one to craft a perfect sculpture or bust of someone; using a mirror and the maga's good hand should suffice to allow the spell to create an accurate base item to work from.

What about using/enchanting a stump cup that then uses its effects on an attached, non-magical prosthetic hand? Would this help minimize warping issues by allowing the maga to simply swap out the non-valuable bit that gets warped with use for a similarly non-valuable new item? As an extra, the Warping might even lead to discarded hands that become Thing's ancestors (Duh-duh-dah-dun). :laughing:

Skip the mind reading part. Just make it command operated. Less useful, but still far more useful than having no prosthetic, and far easier to construct/enchant. Optionally, check the ReHe guidelines:

Level 10: Make a plant or thing made of plant products move with purpose and intelligence, without requiring your constant control.


Warping is an issue for any constant effect on the maga, unless the hand is her familiar.

So an constant InMe effect is a problem.

On the other hand :slight_smile:, she might be better off with a straight ReHe spell to manipulate the hand. The base level is probably very low. There are two ways to go with this, either add magnitudes to let control of the hand be pretty close to instinctual or to accept that control of the hand involves Finesse, which offers benefits and drawbacks.

The next thing we'd want from a hand is a sense of touch. This one is more of a problem, because sensory magics affect the caster, and they're pretty constant.

A different kind of a approach might involve a Spirit Talisman and Blending with Substance, with the substance being the hand. (Head of Vecna, anyone? :slight_smile:



I'll plea surf's parma on this - but I thought a spell effect could be designed for a specific person, and if so, will avoid warping. The way I remember the rule means that you'd need s separate effect for each person you wish to cast on if you wish to not warp them (an example would be a non-warping teleportation effect), but that is not an issue here - as it is tailored for the Magus.

I think the InMe effect is needed to have all the subtle interactions that a hand might have, and would make it +1 complexity from the OP version, to allow for reflex actions, the non-deliberate movements of the body, and the true complexity of hand. Totally your call though!

I'd also suggest that perhaps don't construct the hand at all, just a stump, but have a second effect that conjures a hand as needed, and allow the device to have many "tools". A crafter might see a few uses.

The suggestion above to use Imagonem to get the sense of touch is great too, and you could combine that with an effect that sets the hand's appearance.

That is working for effects that would warp because of their power, but not for those warping because of constant application.


Thanks for the replies so far. A few comments:

  • The maga already has a talisman invested with several effects, so this isn't an option.
  • We had already discounted using only ReHe, since she would need to concentrate to make every tiny movement to the hand. That was the impetus behind effect 1, which pre-empts all necessary movements and guides effect 2.
  • I don't think she'd concerned about making the hand real, so giving it a sense of touch or a life-like appearance is not needed. She thinks a wooden hand would be cool (she has a magical focus in "worked wood"). I think she is planning to enchant other effects into the hand, however.
  • The Missing Hand Flaw does not penalise spellcasting, presumably on the idea that spells would be designed to account for the absent limb. Losing a hand in play is a different issue; however, I'm not so mean a storyguide that I'm going to make her re-invent all her spells. This will just be hand-waved away (excuse the pun) with a bit of practice.

All this said, I think there's great mileage in using the Level 10 ReHe guideline (thanks John Prins) to make the hand move with purpose and intelligence as a constant effect. Fortunately the maga in question is a ReHe specialist, although this is only a 24th level effect (Base 10, +2 Sun; +1 twice per day, +3 environmental trigger). Commands would be issued verbally to the hand: "hold this", "catch the ball!", and it would respond naturally and instantly. This means the first effect can be dumped, getting rid of warping for the maga herself. We'll worry about warping for the enchantment after the fifth year when it gains its first Flaw...

Cheers all,


You're welcome. That guideline is useful for all sorts of stuff. Animated tree guardians? Mobile lecterns? Familiar chase toys? Mecha made from somebody's house? It's all good!

With two or four magnitudes for complexity, why should the amount of concentration to control the hand be more significant than the amount of concentration needed to control a real hand?

I'd think simply animate the hand with ReHe (or Re Te if metal), duration concentration and maintain concentration, making the hand as a magic item and the range is self, since it is the magic item which is being animated, and this bypasses warping since the spell is cast on the hand, not the person.

Why should adding magnitudes of complexity make concentration rolls easier? I don't like the implication of that.


I'd say the intention is that the additional complexity is to remove the need for the user to issue instructions at all, instead it functions naturally (that was my intent in the earlier post too). That is a more complex effect than requiring verbal commands, and removes the need for finesse, as it's like a real one. Probably would require a Corpus req?

IMO, for most uses, you only need a simple trigger, such as "when you touch something, seize and hold it until I tell you to release it".

ReHe 10 might be useful for it to gauge the amount of force needed between a sword and a parchement, or how to hold it, but that's all. It'll be intelligent enough for you to explain and train it, and given time, it'll be your right hand hand.

I'd err on the side of making the hand more effective, if I were you. Making a magic prosthetic is much more time-consuming than healing a lost hand, so it's not a problem if the wooden hand ends up being genuinely better than the flesh hand was.

Actually, it might be cool to see a mage who deliberately mutilates themself to make room for magical prosthetics. I see a Mystery Cult idea in there...

A little off topic, but this thread got me thinking about whether you could have a living wood or plant prosthetic somehow. Something along the lines of enchanting say a mandrake root with some sort of MuHe(Co)? effect that lets it root in flesh as if it were soil and you "plant" it in the stump and fast grow it into the missing limb's shape with a CrHe effect. You'd probably need that ReHe level 10 guideline mentioned above to animate it. I'm not sure it can be done without a lot of guideline adapting, though.