Image from the Wizard Torn and interaction with the Gift

Your Gift affects everyone in your presence (barring Gentle Gift, Parma magica etc.).
This does not require interaction, though it does require some level of attention being paid to you.
The Gift explicitly does not affect people you communicate with through a(n Ungifted) messenger, written letters etc.

What about magical movement of species? If you send your image to talk to someone via Image from the Wizard Torn, or someone uses a scrying pool to spy on you, does your Gift affect them?

Also, what if you are watched, mundanely, from really really afar? Say, someone spots you from a mile away, a little dot crawling up the side of the mountain... does that someone think "Meh, I have a feeling that little dot means trouble"?


ArM5 p.147 Image from the Wizard Torn moves the caster's image, not just some species. And that image can interact with other people socially. So ArM5 p.75 The Gift should apply:

The Gift has a strong emotional effect on those around the Gifted person, making them suspicous and mistrustful of the Gifted individual, inspiring envy. As a result, social interactions are very difficult for the Gifted. ...

This gets even more difficult because (ArM5 p.147):

Further, it (scilicet: your image) appears as if illuminated by whatever light is falling on you.

Can you have meaningful social interactions if only watched that way? Is wigwagging social interaction?
In most cases I would say no - but there may be very particular cases where you should ask your troupe.

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I'd dare to disagree; the book says "those around the Gifted person", not those around his image.

I like to think as the Gift's effect as some kind of mystical stench emanating from the magus; the spell won't move that focus away (unless maybe including a Vim requisite, if you really want to, maybe?). I never thought about using my favourite spell of all the rulebook to get rid of it, but now that Ezzelino suggest it, I'll absolutely promote it.

After all, also, is it not going to be a freecard to get rid of the Gift effects; first of all, you need to know a high level spell with requisites and such: not for every magi. And also then there are these odd stuff of variable illumination, not being able to sit or stand up, the occasional grog trumping on your physical invisible person and so on.


This is actually something that came up IMS recently and took quite a bit of back and forth to work out our stance on it. Obviously this is just our particular interpretation and YSMV.

The scenario: Magus has commissioned enchanted an item that allows him to control a simulacrum of himself from afar (well, a magically preserved corpse - but "simulacrum" sounds nicer). He can scry to see and hear at the location of the simulacrum, control its movements, and project his voice out of it.

The question: If the magus sends the simulacrum to speak with a mundane, are they influenced by his (blatant) gift?

We came up with a few possible answers:

  1. The gift is something that requires proximity to the magus, so no. The corollary is that the gift will have an effect on people physically near a magus, with or without direct interaction.
  2. The gift is triggered by interaction with the magus, so yes. No matter the distance or method if you are communicating with the magus directly in real time the gift factors in. But this also means that even in person the gift doesn't trigger unless the magus directly interacts with someone.
  3. The gift is triggered by the presence of the magus, so yes. The gift doesn't require the magus to be physically present, just present in an abstract sense. The magus speaking at the location and scrying on it makes them "present" enough for the gift to count. Logically this would also mean a magus scrying on people or controlling an animal or similar from afar might give people an unsettled feeling as they are "present" for that too.

Personally I liked #3 for the story utility of people being able to "sense" something off when being scryed on etc. but in the end we compromised and went for #1, physical proximity, with the addition of this house rule:

Any enchanted item, spell, or object animated by spell effects which amount to a powerful mystical effect, or which is highly unnatural, is treated as having the Magical Air flaw. In general this will only be relevant if the item/spell/spell target is used to interact socially with mundanes or animals but if appropriate it may be used in other circumstances at the discretion of the storyguide.

The end result in our saga is that the Gift requires the physical presence of the magus, but most magical means to "evade" the social penalty of the gift are so magical or unnatural that they cause the same reaction as the gift would anyway. There is a niche use for these effects because they are still beneficial to those with a blatant gift (a -3 penalty is better than a -6!). For magi with the gentle gift they actually make things slightly worse.

Does person here only mean the body? Shouldn't aspect, manners, voice, speaking patterns, gestures etc. be as important, or more so?

In other words: would a TMRE p.70ff Living Ghost always have the Gentle Gift?

My first thought was "sure!". But then everything else you mention are things that can be modified, disguised, trained, altered, faked or even Muto'ed away. But the Gift's effects don't dissapear by training or customs or changing hairstyles. (Or actually it can, but requires a lot of training and effort, and that's already weighted in the XPs you have to invest in charm, guile, etiquette and so to overcome the penalty due to the effects of the Gift.)

So I'd say it's probably either the body or the soul. Probably some research and experimentation would be needed to determine where The Gift's penalty resides. Wasn't that what Bonisagus and Mercere where into when the latter lost his Gift, by the way?

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As the Living Ghost has arguably neither, it has the Gentle Gift then?

Can you really train/Muto it away altogether? By Aristotle, the soul is form, not substance. If the Gift is part of that soul, it manifests in the life of a person, not as a magical 'stench' of the body.

This allows a person with the Gift to write letters and send messengers, that are not penalized by it. But whenever her soul, and hence the Gift, is manifest in it, communication is also penalized.

A Living Ghost is presumably no more or less spooky than a regular ghost. Most mundanes would still run away unless it was someone they recognised and new well, and even then they may be very scared.

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My thought- no people do not react to your Gift when you communicate through simulacrum or other remote conversation any more than they do when you write letters. they do however react to the creepiness of your form of remote communication...

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I agree that you should need to be in the magi's actual presence to be affected by the Gift. But as Silveroak says, most 'mundanes' wouldn't respond well to Image From the Wizard Torn or such spells. Pretty good if you want to communicate with a non-hermetic Gifted, though.

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Except I am given to understand that there is nothing that can be directly sensed that causes you to be disturbed in the presence of the Gift.
That is what subconciously freaks out everybody affected in game - as I explain to my troupe some mystic mumbo-jumbo: Your animating spirit is always under your volitional control, yet in the presence of the Gifted your animating spirit is agitated, the feedback makes the affected character think that they have sensed something off/wrong about the Gifted individual, but they can't isolate the non-existant sensory input.

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I'm definitively NOT going to discuss Aristotle with you. Any further mention on him and I'd grab a white blanket, tie it to the end of a pole and wave it around like crazy. But I think you are carrying the concept of "manifesting" the soul way to far.

I think the spell should carry the negative effects of the Gift if and only if the image of a fire can burn stuff, or if a portrait of a magus gets negative reactions of viewers not protected by Parma, but not from those protected by it. Which, might be just me, but seems silly to me.

It is rather, that the Gift should cause a negative reaction in a being with which a magus - and not a text or a portrait of him - interacts. This is no issue of distance, but of directness. If a magus shouts and is understood, this interaction carries the penalty. If a magus sends his own voice and image via magic, likewise. Note that Image from the Wizard Torn is Re(In)Im, not Cr(In)Im - so this spell moves the caster's own image and sound.
I don't see a difference here - unless there is a magical 'stench' of a magus' body which can only carry so far.
If the Gift is a property of the ArM5 spirit or soul of a magus (which Aristotle both combines in his 'psyche', typically translated as 'soul'), it is perceived through his voice and image by whoever interacts with him directly.
Both the portrait of that magus or his writing differ from his voice, however it is carried, or his own image, however perceived.

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You said Aristotle again!

runs to get a blanket

Well, there it is the issue...

...because that's exactly how I saw it. I think my perspective is simpler and easier to run (and to get away from). But I like yours more. Not because of what happens when you use the spell (the effect is odd most of the times anyway, as Silveroak and John Prins pointed out) but because I really like the idea of interlacing the effect closer to the body & soul of the gifted, and that it can be useful to dig into that and use it to describe a deeper and more complex way of how magic works and what to be a Gifted character is to my players. Which sounds definitively like fun.


Since it came up in the discussion Spirits always have magical air according to RoP:M so I would assume this would apply to a living ghost as well.


Probably a minor point, but I think it's worth pointing out that what triggers the emotional effect of the Gift is the presence of a Gifted person (and yes, that is ambiguous in these days of remote video meetings), combined with attention being paid to said person (see the third column of ArM5 p.75). Obviously, most social interaction involves both, so it qualifies, but it's not the interaction per se that triggers the reaction.

Thus, if a Gifted person " dresses unostentatiously, keeps to the middle of the group, does not appear to be the leader, and doesn’t talk to anyone, then the group should be able to travel without suffering from people’s reactions to The Gift" (ArM5, p.75). But the way I read the rest of that text is that if somene at that point just calls attention to the Gifted person ("Hey, it's that witch!"), then the GIft hits. Similarly, if a mundane comes upon a beautiful maga sleeping alone in the middle of an enchanted glade, the Gift should hit even in the absence of social interaction (unless you have "noticing someone" fall under "social interaction", which I think is a bit stretched).


Social interaction is indeed not necessary for the Gift to have an effect.
I recommend reading the very first part of the core rulebook, the little story on page 4, and consider how Walter in that story reacts to seeing what is obviously a maga with the Gift.

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I would say, that this is social interaction. :heart_eyes: Social interaction doesn't require talking for sure - but yes, it requires that the one interacted with pays attention.

I think there may be forms of remote communication in which the Gift causes penalty (shouting from a long way off being an obvious example) but at the same time a magical recording of their voice should carry no more penalty than a physical recording of their thoughts ( a letter) if the remote communication is akin to causing messages to be written on a board down the hall while scrying on the reader there would be no penalty. If you manifest directly into the room with full "presence" there would be. The question which is up to the troupe/SG is where in the middle do the effects actually kick in and whether it is binary or comes into manifestation by degrees. Again, creepiness of the devised system is also a factor, and may confound experimentation on this issue (are they affected by my gift or the disconcerting nature of the automata that I sent to represent me?)

There obviously isn't a single BTB answer to this.

I think the way I would rule is that for the social penalties of the Gift to take effect, the ones so affected need to do at least one of the following:

  • Hear the voice of the magus
  • See the face of the magus
  • Watch the body language of the magus
  • Smell the magus (this will usually only be relevant for animals)

This in addition to paying at least a slight amount of attention to the magus.

So hearing a recording of the voice would give the penaly, while seeing a magus from a long way off where you can't distinguish any details of the person won't.

My thought is that having the Gift causes something to be unidentifiably off with how other percieve you, triggering the penalties.

This is of course not the only interpretation possible of the rules, even without going into house rules, but it does have the advantage of being relatively straightforward and easy to judge.