In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed is king...

Salve Sodales,

I have a subject on which I hope for your inspired thoughts and inspiration.

I have a guernicus magus who's blind - I have opted not to use the obvious solution of using Creo Corpus magic to help it, but rather use the blindness as a vechicle to interesting scenes and challenges. Now my question is two-fold:

1. What does blindness enfold for his use of magic?
2. What possible spells/arts can he use to sense his souroundings?

ad 1. If looking at the corresponding flaw Blind it reads: "Blind magi can detect targets by other senses, and thus are less limited than people trying to use missile weapons. However, blind magi cannot aim spells without magical aid." I'm unambigious about the aiming, but in general the limit of arcane connections says that: "Hermetic magic cannot affect an unsensed target without an Arcane Connection", which reads clearly enough. But does this mean that the magus has to be sensing the target in the exact moment he casts his spell? What if he clearly hears someone approaching and know they are there, and he starts to cast magic, but then can't hear them anymore (perhaps due to stealth), can he then still finish his magic, knowing the target is there though he's not able to hear/sense the target?
Also I reckon that he would not, unaided by magical senses, be able to use the range: Sight, but what about Voice? That would entail his voice reaching the target, but wouldn't the magus own voice maybe then drown the sounds of the target needed to target them in the first place?

ad 2. The magus' strong suit is, among other things, Intellego, so the question is to what extent he could use Intellego to sense his sourroundings?
Intellego Imaginem spells allow you to use your senses at a distance not normally possible, but it doen't explicit say that it requires you to have that sense functioning in the first place to use this kind of magic. I've never before given it any though, but now I'm in doubt wether my magus by the use of magic can detect the species without the related sense working? And if not, would it than maybe be possible to use the target of Vision in a Intellego Imaginem spell to bypass this? Even though this isn't what I would prefer (rather wanting a spell enabling him a magical 6th sense of his sourrounding than it firmly rooted in a sight based closely on his eyes).
I've also given thougt to very broad spectred Intellego spells using a majority of the Forms to giving him a broad sense of his surroundings - but would that be possible and to what approximately level? - I expect the base level to be quite low, but the target would probably have to be Group/Room or Structure and finally using several Forms might demand extra magnitudes, but I not sure how many? Any ideas?

Lastly he would have to use the option of Forceless Casting (HoH:TL p. 72) where one opts to ensure that the penetration of the spell doesn't ever exceeds '0', so as not to accidently have area of effect spells penetrate other magi's Parma and thus breaking the Code. This gives an interresting aspect to my magus; that the presence of other magi or supernatural entities with Might/Resistance to his perception will appear only as formless void siluettes...

Looking forward to your thoughts and inputs!!

I recently tinkered with a blind magus in Metacreator.

  1. The two obvious limitations were the inability to use of Eye and Sight range. Voice range is OK so long as the spell doesn't have to be targetted. I feel that if he knows something is in his vicinity, for example because he heard it, it is good enough to cast a spell at it. Same if it were an object he placed on a table. He still knows where the object is, know what object he intends to affect, etc. So long as his sanctum goes largely undisturbed, he can probably affect its contents without much trouble.

  2. Intellego is not surprising. :slight_smile: Prying Eyes seem to imply that you do need to be able to see in the first place, since it states that magical enhancements to your sight allow you to see more. It makes sense that if your sight is defective, you would see less.

On the other hand, the level 3 InIm guideline could be interpreted as enabling a blind magus to see by having the magic directly capture the species, though adding another two magnitudes to parallel the jump from "use one sense at a distance" to "enhance one sense" to "grant one sense even if you don't have it" is probably also acceptable -- if you feel that InIm magic can grant that missing sense in the first place. Add an extra 4 magnitudes for a Vision target, one for Concentration and we're in business (with a level 20 to 30 spell).

Alternatively, you can go the temporary CrCo route, starting with the level 20 guideline "Heal the debilitating after-effects of a disease, poison, or injury", and give some reason why the healing cannot be performed as a ritual.

Finally, Eyes of the Bat (InAu 25) offer a simple single-form solution. I don't think that Vision targets would work for a blind magus outside of InIm though. Or maybe with a Mentem requisite to directly translate the species.

As a longer-term project, InMe (or InAn) to borrow someone else's sight is also a solution. See the familiar enchantments section for details.

And I don't think MR comes into play at all so long as you are not directly trying to perceive the targets.

Eyes of the Bat ! - how could I forget! Thank you for reminding me!!!

I also looked up the CrCo level, but even though it's reasonably easy I'll stear clear of it bc its more challenging not to (my characters rationale will probably be that he might think of his blindness to be a punishment from God, and even though he continues to use magic (sin), he still sees it as an unforgiving sign of proudness if he were to restore his sight by magics).

Concerning MR - the text on magical senses (Ars 5th Ed p. 114) states that the magic used via mundane senses, Hearing if using the Eyes of the Bat, must penetrate MR to function.

I do reckon that if the magus where to make an Intellego (perhaps combining Te and An, Aq, Co, He, Ig - being "physical" things) spell with either target Room/Structure or Hearing to sense his surroundings magically, then the MR of nearby targets within the area of effect would determine wether the magus might sense them - and consequently breaking the Code if thus accidently "use magic on his sodales".

A blind magus is a cool archetype, but I think ArM wizards are so powerful that they can circumvent the issues too easily. So in interpreting the rules, I think the right course of action is to do so in a way that leaves the character unique and special, that doesn't trivialize his blindness.

I am not sure. I think you need to sense the target at the moment of the spell's release in order for it to count. No use sensing it yesterday, after all, is there? And if guessing it is there is enough then you can affect an unsensed target, so the limit is pointless.

I would allow you to shoot aimed spells to where you guess the targets are. Just shooting in some general direction, basically. (Yes, even though it is against the actual rules as written - I don't see why being blind should prevent you from casting aimed spells without magical aid, it just prevents you from aiming them effectively :slight_smile: )

I see no problem with Voice range, at least not at Room or area targets. If he can sense an Individual target, e.g. by hearing it, no problem there too. His voice won't unduly interfere with his hearing, no.

In general, I don't think there is a problem with magically granting yourself senses you don't naturally have. You certainly don't need to be able to be able to see magic to be able to sense magic with InVi, why should you need to be able to see color in order to be able to use InIm to sense it?

However. In order to keep the blind magus, well, blind, I would suggest not allowing the magus to use the Vision target with Intellego spells. His blindness is not a mere physical defect, it is an inherent inability to see. Magic cannot be used to allow him to see with other means.
This is a non-standard interpretation, I think, but I think it's cooler. Imagine yourself hearing color, tasting what something looks like... it creates something different, it makes being blind mean something.

So I don't see a problem with your magus sensing appearance. I do recommend not allowing him to see, by whatever means, but he can listen in to colors or so on.

The use of InVi to sense magical creatures or so on can give you this kind of sixth sense.

You can also invest in supernatural abilities - we have one blind companion that has Magic Sensitivity, Faerie Sensitivity (same as Magic, but works on Faeries), and Sense Holiness/Unholiness. These (I would rule) should allow you to see (or at least comparatively sense) supernatural things - but only supernatural things. (And use the Sight range.) You would be blind to everything mundane, but be able to see the supernatural. It's an interesting way to go about the world.

Serf's parma. What you describe does make sense, but I would use T:Hearing Intellego spells (probably one per Form, at least intitially). The guideline should be to gain only basic information about the objects, so base level should be low indeed. Extra magnitudes should definitely be used if more Forms are added.

Unlike Imaginem, that can collect free-form species, these spells would need to penetrate MR.

Intereting, but again I would do the opposite and leave the character blind, as per the Flaw. (Perhaps taking superntural virtues to allow vision in specific areas.)
Holes will also not exist with InIm spells, as the species are natural and not protected by MR.

Playing a magus with a flaw that can be so easily fixed with magic is, IMO, cheating. :slight_smile: I would make the blindness part of the magus' essential nature, impossible to remove by Hermetic magic. (If you want to search non-Hermetic solutions, now that's great saga material...)

Peace all,

Hmm interesting concept. Interesting enough to bring me out of the Lurking Corner.

If my interpretation of what you mentioned earlier is correct, then you are looking to play this character as a challenge and not as a what is the quickest way to solve the blindness. Good luck to you on that, it would certainly be a challenge, for example examining a 'crime scene' and not being able to see the area involved. I do have a number of thoughts on this matter though, feel free to answer them or comment/ignore.

  1. If the magus were to accept a familiar, would he then go on to use the familiars sight?
  2. If in this darkened world you cannot see anything with Might or Parma how does this affect the role of a Guernacus. Would he use InVi etc to detect the sigils of other magi etc to still act normally, i.e. identify known blobs of nothingness?
  3. If simply heightening the effect of other senses going to be good enough to get by with, or is this going against some kind of self-enforced standard for not bringing sight back/overriding the 'punishment'?
  4. Is there a role for apprentice/companion in this, acting as a helper or is the magus too proud?
  5. What effects is/was this going to have on his education (book reading)? Has/will this be gotton around, or this an ongoing problem? What effects, if any do you plan to use for the mechanics of this and other everyday occurances?

May hang around a bit before jumping back into the lurking corner

That's an excellent point (not that the others weren't). I would say he should be built normally, but would insist on a spell that will allow him to read books (say, R:Touch D:Conc InIm to "brail-read" the book).

And welcome to the world of posting, Lurkio! :slight_smile:

I think that more is needed here. You may have opted not to CrCo the problem away, but why did the character? Was the character born blind? Or is he blind because of an injury?

If he was born blind, then it might not be just pride that keeps him from CrCoing the problem away. The rules have it that injuries taken as Flaws at character creation are Essential to the character. Now, that shows a misunderstanding of the philosophical concept of essentiality, but it might account for the character's choice. Alternately, if God saw to it that you were blind, it might be less that the character is concerned that besighting himself would exhibit the sin of pride, and more that it would transgress the Limit of the Divine.

On the other hand, if he's blind because of an injury, some peculiar reason would have to exist for him to not CrCo his sight back.

That would depend on (a) what the physical basis of his blindness is, and (b) what the physical basis of sight is in paradigm. Surely, there were many views about how sight works. Relevantly, Aristotle's view is that the transparent jelly in the eye changes color when it's affected by the visible species of objects. That versions of (b) offers a suggestion about (a). Perhaps the character's blindness is some sort of physical block, preventing the species from entering the perfectly functioning eye. E.g., the character simply cannot open his eyes; God may have so ordained that there are no eyelids at all, just bumps in the flesh of the face (and that the flesh in front of the eyes is immune to CrCo and PeCo spells that would open it). The eyes work, they just can't get any input. In that case, all you would need to do would be to somehow cause visible species to cross the skin into the eyes.

If that seems to make things too easy (just cast a ritual every year teleporting the visible species that hit the flesh in front of the eyes across that flesh), perhaps you could ad hoc in the rest of God's choice: for your character, no sight-granting spell can have a duration more than momentary, all such spells require vis, all such spells require loss of fatigue, the character just apparently can't learn any such spell (seasons spent creating them in the lab are wasted), or something.

Eureka folks! :exclamation:

Thank you very much for your replies!!!! Especially to you people for reviving a seemingly dead thread!

I was beginning to fear that I wouldn't get much feedback on this subject - so now you made me really glad! :smiley:

First let me give you some more of the background - our saga's been running for 2 1/2 year with me as the SG. Now we've finally had our first story run by one of the others, and I'm encouraging them to do more (most of my players are not only seasoned role players but several also have SG experience from other role plays). I've never myself played a magus - not counting the myriad NPC - and it's my dream to try it out, so to prepare for upcoming stories I've begun to dabble with making a character.

I've decided to make a Guernicus – primarily because my players have had little contact with them (at the Tribunal when the characters became members of the Order – and a short visit at their covenant after a mysterious fire claimed the life of an old maga) and because I see my role – even as a player characters as a way to bring new information and takes on the Order to the players. Our saga has strong plotlines connected to the Schism War, and a Guernici’s opinions might be interesting in that regard. My character is a Jew from Prague (inspired to be from there because I recently returned from a trip there) and I’m still not decided whether he should be an active Quaesitor or maybe rather function as an advocate (HoH:TL) and moderator working for balance and cohesion within the Order.

I’ve got several interesting flaws (and virtues) lined up, so I haven’t picked Blind to have some trivial easy to overcome flaw – it is because I see story/role playing potential and because I prefer it to other story potentials! Thus I don’t want an easy fix – neither am I planning to use spells to heal or emulate sight. The reasoning might just be mechanic – not to take inconsequent flaws – but it’s rather simply because I prefer the challenge / eschewed perception. I’m thinking that the character might believe his blindness to be a punishment from God/the Divine, and even though he continues to use magic he might feel it to be an unforgiving affront to actually use his magic to restore his sight – Hubris, if to use a “pagan” term. I haven’t decided on the final story put I’m contemplating giving him Warped Magic (very bright painful lights – the flows of magic crystallising as sharp light), which at some time in his past overwhelmed to a degree costing him his sight. The only thing that remains now is his ability to see magic (and nothing else) – see further down in this increasing post…. Nevertheless, the character still sees this as some divine retribution, therefore he will not strive to reclaim his sight, in any form or shape, or use Vision-based InIm or similar spells (I really don’t know if he actually tried but then ran head into the limit of Essential Nature or maybe even the Limit of the Divine….). So Brian I agree with your game mechanic cap on the flaw:

And I might think of those game mechanic means to insure the honouring of the flaw if a rogue player suggested it, but I really don’t need it, because my character will not try to duplicate normal sight. Nevertheless I do plan to enforce his other sense – using magical touch, taste, smell and hearing. And of course I’ve picked the Sharp Ears virtue (which I guess most blind people have – hearing better than the rest of us).

Great idea, one of my players suggested the same (hadn’t thought of it myself) – I like the idea of having a familiar, but I’m not sure that I might use its sight, but maybe put together some too “know-it-all” kind of familiar, whose sight I wouldn’t use directly, via magic, but rather as someone describing detailed things to magi – but somewhat, or a lot, eschewed by the unique perception/views/interests of the familiar.

Another very good point – I’ve thought about InVi spells to spot sigils, but if I end on the advocate style guernici he might not need it. But still…

Good point! Hadn’t thought of that – why, I don’t know. One of the established NPC I’ve made for our saga actually has a rather dusty academic familiar owl that really haven’t got any other supernatural abilities, but to discuss high academia and read books on behalf of his magus – to give them a review whether the old magus should waste his time reading them himself. So that idea is somewhat used, so I think I’ll have to find some other solution to this important challenge. These thoughts might also concern an apprentice and/or aide, but the I’ll leave to later when I’ve figured his age and such – but it would be handy with a scribe. Maybe even for reading correspondences/texts aloud. Pride might become a factor, yes. And the idea of InAn/Te/He spell depending on the book/inks he's reading is also a very good idea! Good question!

My thoughts exactly! Great: two minds – one thought! An intrinsic trait of the magus is exactly his Magic Sensitivity which is locked to his eyesight. Actually some of the only things he can see is the flows and ebbs of magic. I also gave him the Visions flaw – which I also expect to be sight-based, but the use hereof is up to the beta SGs. A point though – I expect the visions to be rather painful to his eyes..

I agree on this as well. My earlier points were just to get the debate going. I do believe that the magus should be able to sense the target at the time of the casting (but Room/Structure being possible solutions to ease the task) and that’s why he need other spells to gain an impression of his surroundings.

Which is true, but also – acknowledging and reaffirming your Serf’s Parma – even though the InIm that perceive species don’t need to penetrate parma, if you use any other kind of Intellego (not Im) magic to sense your surroundings, the rules specify that if you use magic on your senses (5th. p. 114) these senses normal “range” might penetrate the parma, but the magic part of the said sense have to penetrate the parma for you to benefit from the magic. I think an example might be due: If I where to use Eyes of the Bat (InAu) to sense my surroundings and get a layout of them, then I magically enhances my Hearing to “translate” Intellego Auram to something I’m able (sensible..?) to sense– If someone with magic resistance (Might or Parma) comes rumbling towards me I would automatically hear the noise they make, but the magic of sensing their more exact location, speed, and line of approach would require the magic to translate the InAu to Hearing – thus the MR comes into play. And voila, my magus would prefer Forceless Casting to accidentally come to breaking the Code by “scrying” with Eyes of the Bat or similar spells. Not because it’s the most easy efficient solution, but because I, the player, find it more interesting than using InIm spells.

Well – congratulation if your still here, reading this! Hope I havn't whacked your eyes or brains reading this endless rambling. I got carried away, captivated by the subject, and couldn’t hold back. Even had to run for work in the middle of this reply (as an on call fire fighter you never know…) and returned to finish the job. So even if I can’t claim Serf’s Parma, please take it to consideration why this post might be somewhat broken or confusing!

Thank you! (and still hoping for you inspiring responses to this)


PS.: Now thinking of supporting the secret and quite esoteric League of MOLAWEP*

(*More Lurkers Are Welcome Please!)

I really like the character concept, esp. the Warped Magic cause. Please post him when you're through creating him!



I will do that - but it might not be in the near future, depending on when I'll finally finish the character.


The main problem would be wether or not a grouchy old Flambeu decides this would count as scrying... Or wether a powerhungry Tremere might bring it up as such on a Tribunal.

True - and that's what forceless casting is for.

I don't think it counts as scrying if people can see you're around the place. Image from the Wizard Torn doesn't count.

A related question: How would you construct a spell that allows a mage to, say, hear and locate the heartbeat of any creature close by (that has a heartbeat)? Can it be done without Hearing target - I mean, since heartbeats are a natural sound, the species should already be there, so it's just a matter of amplification at the receiver end, so to speak. Can you Muto yourself to such acute hearing? Or do the species of heartbeats actually stop short of reaching you so that you have to use magical senses? If so, what's the difference from seeing clearly at a distance?

It's certainly not a clear cut case - but I do think that with the right Tribunal, Quaesitors or Praeco you might be punished for doing so. I think that a majority of Intellego spells, if used on a sodalis, constitutes scrying. By the letter of the Code at least.

That is a very interesting concept!! I really like - especially since it seems so mythic! Consider yourself robbed blind :laughing: of that idea!

Okay - T:Hearing. If you go down this path the volume of the sound of a heart is no longer important, just as long as they are within 'normal' hearing range. The downside is that you'll have to penetrate their MR, if any. Thus the hearts of magi or creatures with Might will be harder to percieve.

MuCo (An) could be used to grant your self a better hearing. The bonus is that you would not need to penetrate. The downside is that it is probably very difficult to judge what is needed to hear a heartbeat from a distance. Find a bestiary comment on an animal able to do exactly that and you are more or less home free.

CrCo to increase your Perception - but probably wouldnt make you able to hear heartbeats.

InIm can be used to hear at a distance and it should also be able to tune up the volume - maybe even to the degree of hearing heartbeats.

InAu has a spell that allows you to hear a conversation downwind - it is somewhat alike, but I still doubt it would work.

In general all the spells increasing your hearing (in terms of volume) has a huge downside. If there's other noises it'll be hard to use it and it might potentially be very painfull.

Owls and Hearing
How sensitive is a cat's hearing?

Two sources close to the setting:

Of the Owl
Of the night-owl
neither of which help much with hearing it seems.

You're targeting your own hearing, not the target you want to sense. If, on the other hand you cast a spell directly at someone (target: whatever isn't a sense), you might need to penetrate...

This is pretty much the same as the In spell - only differences are the level and arts involved...

Perception is a mental trait, isn't is? And in any event you're talking really high levels to be able to hear heartbeats... (Ritual of lvl 55, at range:personal and duration momentary).

Since this is used to see very far ("Eyes of the Eagle" InIm 25), you shouldn't have much trouble using it in a similar manner with hearing...

Since it's based on your line of sight, that would likely work very poorly indeed...

Most spells works with a filter; you're not trying for omnicence(sp). So, a spell might only amplify heartbeats...

Moles seem a better bet.

Mundane Beasts in HoH:MC has a Quality called Sharp Ears (page 42).
This grants +01 to Perception and +03 to rolls involving hearing.
It would be the same level/type spell as Eyes of the Cat (page 131 , ArM 05)