Identifying the Realm of vis

Hi all,
I know there are guidelines for identifying vis, how much there is and what art it is associated with, but is there a spell to identify its realm?

Surely every vis-source found would be checked to make sure it wasn't infernal...

Is there such a thing as Faerie vis? If you slay a faerie prince, does he leave behind magic vis or something else?


Yes there is Fearie Vis as Merinita need Fearie Vis to use one part of theyr House Virtue. (HoH:MC 88)

Demons are masters of deception, so (IMO, of course) such "checks" conducted with Hermetic magic would generate many, many, many "false negatives". See the Lesser Limit of the Infernal.

Would it? Demons lie. But is what they leave behind capable of doing the same? I think an infernal realm can be detected, I think infernal vis can also be detected. The actual residents of those places, though... They can lie, they can manipulate, but I tend to lean towards the fact that the vis is a known quantity, and it leaves open the question that people who work with infernal vis, are either diabolists, or lying to themselves, which is more interesting to me. :smiley:

I would allow Hermetic magic to detect the realm of magic, faerie and divine vis, probably at the same level as detecting its associated art. It's not clear whether infernal vis would be subject to the Lesser Limit of the Infernal (being "undetectable" as such by Hermetic magic): not all things infernal are, including maleficia cast by infernalists, for example. It's probably a moot point anyway: infernal vis is better for you only if you have infernal ties, and if you don''t, you may just want to cast the spell "Cleanse the verminous vis" (from RoP:I, it removes the taint of infernal vis, though multiple applications may be required for heavy taints) on any suspicious vis you come across...

Let me try again...
Infernal vis is going to have enough other warning signs on it to suggest that it is infernal. Say killing a demon by damage, rather than destroying it's might. You'll have a nice steaming pile of infernal vis. I think a spell to confirm the realm of said pile wouldn't "lie." I think to be confounding Intellego spells, to actually lie as to whether is something infernal, requires a demon behind the scenes, manipulating things...

I'm pretty certain Infernal vis and especially auras can be detected by Hermetic magic, unless they're being actively veiled by a demon (in which case your spell has to penetrate). Don't know any page reference at the moment though.

Then again, RoP:I is quite specific in this regard...

I don't have that book, yet, so for me, it isn't true! :smiley:

Without any context it sounds like a license for the SG to turn any Vis the covenant has on hand into infernal Vis, which I don't care for..

But at the same time, RoP:I allows Hermetic magic to cleanse the taint which it can't detect. This seems poorly thought out to me. I would prefer that hermetics either be able to detect the taint or be unable to affect the taint, avoiding such munchkinism as "Cast Cleanse the Verminious Vis three times on everything. It's the only way to be sure".

Or convinced that THEY can handle it without corruption. :smiling_imp:

Can only agree with Jonathan about that... It´s not a good rule.

Ah, good catch! I had completely missed it.

I think at it's worst any application of The Limit of the Infernal can suffer from this problem. It's license for the SG to "pull stuff" on the players without having to worry about Intellego spoiling the surprise. So to me it supports the twin sins of lazy and antagonistic storytelling.

Thematically I can accept that there are some things your Magic can't tell you. But you hit the nail on the head when you said.

The Infernal should be present when it serves the story. Ready to lead characters astray for sure. But while Magi should not be able to rely on their magic to make the "right" choice, the infernal should never be able to perfectly hide it's corrupt nature. There should be clues evident in the story that wise characters (and their players) can recognize if they look for them.

On a less story centered note. If you really fear your SG is going to be trying to sneak you a bunch of tainted vis I believe it's easy enough to build a character, even a grog, with Sense holy/unholy high enough to act as a Vis taster. Since Vis has no MR you don't have to worry about the penetration problems that can nerf that ability.

Generally speaking, that's how Hermetic magic interacts with the infernal: magi can affect infernal things (Demon's Eternal Oblivion) but they cannot tell if it is (or was) infernal when they do so. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that precedence of "cast DEO on everyone -- it's the only way to be sure" is also fairly well set in most games. If characters are so paranoid about demons, you can turn that into stories, though, by making demons seek them out to keep fueling that paranoia. That's one of the reasons why demon hunters get a recognizable reputation within the infernal hierarchy. The more demons that a magus defeats, the greater the glory to the demon who finally brings him down. The player has indicated that fighting demons is an important part of his character's story, and the demons will be happy to oblige.

My recollection of when we were writing Infernal is that we wanted to describe the Order of Hermes as having a lot of (willful) ignorance about the infernal realm, because while as players we know how demons work, characters who have not read the sourcebooks would not. So just understanding what demons are and what they can do involves dipping your toes into the infernal pool, and most magi do not want to do that. The magus who stands up at council and says "Yes, I know how the wiles of demons work, hear me! This vis is like to be tainted, let me cast this simple spell to cleanse it!" may be completely virtuous, but magi tend to be wary of such people, because as soon as accusations of diabolism start flying, they will likely be directed at this magus and his sodales, because who deals with demons better than the one who knows so much about them? Or, worse perhaps, these accusations will come against them from this learned magus, for their ignorance. Or demons might target them to get at this other magus. Much safer all around if this demon-magnet magus lives somewhere else. :slight_smile:

If I recall correctly, that spell, Cleanse the Verminious Vis, comes from the Venatores, who are a somewhat secret group of demon hunters within the Order. They have to be at least a little bit secret about their activities, because of this negative reputation they court. But that means that your standard run-of-the-mill magus would not know that vis can be tainted in this way, or that Hermetic magic can remove the stain. The basic realization that all vis is vulnerable to such corruption is a step into the infernal realm, with the fear and paranoia that this generates leading to interesting stories. This dynamic soon spreads to other magi; it gives members of a covenant an issue to consider their trust for each other, and also forces them to consider their interactions with others.

Some thoughts on the other realms:

My recollection from The Divine is that there isn't vis aligned with the divine realm (or at least if there is, we didn't talk about it there and it was added in later books). The idea there was that the power of the divine is above the baser natural realm of magic. Vis has no purpose in the Divine realm. Things and remains of things still touched with the power of the divine are relics, and give Faith Points instead. We decided that trying to convert relics into baser units of power measurement, like vis, was counter to the spirit of the Divine realm, so that sort of thing goes into The Infernal ("Profaning the Divine") instead. The closest thing I can remember doing is letting holy magi use their inner reserves of faith (Long-term Fatigue) in place of vis when casting Rituals.

There isn't much difference between faerie vis and magic vis, and as stated in Faerie on page 18, a simple Intellego Vim spell can recognize this quality. It gives extra botch dice, basically. Faerie vis is more useful for magi from House Merinita, because they can often use more of it, and it's also often valuable to faeries and faerie hedge wizards in trade. I don't think it's been written anywhere, but I would allow any magus with some skill in Faerie Lore to cast a spell like Cleanse the Verminious Vis to make faerie vis magical. Also, it might be interesting to have a Merinita-based faerie spell that makes magical vis faerie, perhaps based on the guideline for Enigma's Gift.

The possibility of Divine tainted vis is mentioned in the core rulebook (ArM5, page 190).

Personally, as far as Infernal taint (or any realm taint) in-play I tend to assume that any magus with Magic Theory knows that realm tainting is a possibility but that it is impossible to remove (and ignore guidelines that say otherwise). You can guess that it is tainted by where you got it from, and you can only definitely tell by using it (and something weird happening).

Thus, vis that comes from known infernal sources is "destroyed" if the Quaesitors ask about it. But in reality it is often very carefully stored, where the magus can be tempted to use it in an emergency (depending on how reckless the magus is).

Its also in RoP:D (unrevised): p 69, middle column. At the least, its double the botch dice, and it may attract the attention of Saints or Angels, or cause weird effects which further god's plan (whatever that may be).

Hi all,
So in summary, there is vis associated with the other 3 reams, and it is possible to break that association making it normal magical vis. (I almost said "mundane vis" then :blush: )

If you find a vis source, you need to check the local aura, the vis will probably be aligned with it.
If in doubt, use a single pawn in a measured manner and observe the results.

If really in doubt, chuck it in a storage container until an emergency.

I suppose you could do a ReVi circle for each realm and see if the vis can roll through it....

Nope, it has no might, so that wouldn't do much good :wink:

But you could easily come up with something like MuVi: turn infernally aligned items blue. When the Limit of the Infernal applies only to In magic it becomes trivial to circumvent, which is what I was talking about in the first place.

And, sorry, no. Such a spell would necessarily have an Intellego Requisite, and it would therefore fail.

MuAn: change the fur of all female and pregnant deer blue. No, not for me. It requires an Intellego requisite to identify the stated requirement. I see no reason for a MuVi spell that changes something that meets an underlying requirement or condition to not have an Intellego requisite.