InTe Spell - Earthen Awareness

Earthen Awareness
Range: Touch, Duration: Momentary, Target: Individual
(Base 5?, +1 Touch)
Description: By touching the earth or something resting on earth know its location to within 1 league. You also know the direction of north.

The rationale is that something resting on soil is connected through the earth to all other points on the earth (by digging down, then sideways, then up). The spell reads the earth as a whole, somewhat like a compass does, with a gps thrown in.

My SG and I weren't sure what level to assign to this as it seems unlike any spell we could find. We based the level instead on its apparant usefulness. I use it to avoid getting lost while teleporting in 1 league jumps. I have also found it helpful when cast through an Intangible Tunnel to roughly locate things to which I have an arcane connection. I think my SG's attitude is that it helps move the adventure along. It gets us to difficult situations without helping us to reslve them especially. Not to scientific I know but it has not proved to be unbalancing in play.

Any thoughts?

Target: Part at the very least. North might be base 4 - a mundane property, but not sure. Location? not possible per se IMO. You would need a map like InCo20 The Inexorable Search.

InCo4 Where am I?
Locate yourself on a map.
(base3, pers+0, conc+1, ind+0)

InTe should be similar in level.

Modern map making and its techniques do not fit Mythic Europe IMO. Requiring a sympathetic connection fits perfectly. Find a map, it will tell you where you are on it, but that position will be just as skewed as the map is.

While this may have the "right vibe" to it, it does not work very well within the framework of Hermetic magic. The reason is that affecting -- even with an Intellego spell -- something as massive as the Earth requires something like 20 magnitudes for size alone. Of course, you can always rule that some Bonisagus managed to adapt the magics of some hedge wizard, giving you access to the new "read the Earth as a whole" Level 5 guideline.

Well, if you want simply to orient yourself, or locate things to which you have an arcane connection, there are guidelines already allowing you to do so -- basically you use your magic to sense the item/person you have an Arcane connection to and determine its direction and distance from yourself. If you know your own position, you can then detect that of the Target. If you know that of the Target, you can learn your own.

This is a brilliant way to use the InCo guideline -- just locate yourself!
Incidentally, I'd say you only need D:Mom, so you can push the level down to 3.

Interesting spells, i love them!

Well, first thought is that while knowing "north" is fine, there simply is no gps system - not in Europe, not in the Hermetic system. Without a framework, there is no starting point, no grid, no reference point to start from. (This concept was suggested by , with uncertain reception, then lost to academia and re-discovered in 1350 or so - see this thread... )

In short, without having a hard definition of where Paris and Rome and the English Channel are, and those relative to each other and relative to you, "You are here" is meaningless. Perhaps a direction and distance from a single, specific and known location, determined when the spell is invented (your Covenant, Durenmar, a major city, the St. Bernhard Pass, Stonehenge, whatever.)

That said, the Base seems right, if not Base 4 - location is "one natural property" imo.

With a little concentration, a mage can tell relatively where he is to earlier castings - or maybe with +1 magnitude that can be built in.

I see what I missed. Maps of the era were navigation tools as they are today, but back then they navigated by landmarks and distances between known points rather than by lat/lon from a GPS satellite.

I really like the idea of the spell so maybe it needs to relate position as relative to some earthen landmark. Familiarity with the landmark would be a requisite to understanding the location. Seems a bit restrictive but that might be more interesting to play anyways. That still leaves the target of "Earth" a little on the large side :slight_smile:, and I'm inclined to take the hedge wizardry option there, though it feels like a cheat.

On the whole I see that the spell doesn't fit well into Hermetic magic but I lke it and it doesn't seem unbalancing in play. That said, I'm sure I'm just rationalizing to keep a spell I like. :slight_smile:

That's certainly true but it could make an interesting story saga to rediscover Ptolemy's coordinate system and create maps and detection spells based on it. His Geographia was actually nowhere near as "lost" as Ancient Magic presents -- copies circulated in both Byzantiaum and the Islamic World and several Arabic scholars referred to the work and I believe even improved upon it. This would be a cool example of a breakthrough that involves using science and hermetic magic together in a clever way rather than the raw magical power of typical Hermetic Breakthroughs. I'm sure it would be very well received by the Order.

In other words, you're following the Central Rule to the letter! If your whole troupe likes it, then it's 100% correct. 8)

Yup. While there almost certainly were some lat/lon sort of measuring going on, it wasnt systematic but rather used as another type of "landmark", assisting in finding their goal rather than actually allowing direct navigation.

Make 3-4 spells that uses a different landmark to relate to and you can rather good information on where you are.

I think "well received" might be a serious understatement. :slight_smile:

Actually, AM5 p.113, Target and Sizes, specifically says that Intelligo magic is an exception to size requirements... and then the canon spells put it back anyway (Sense the Feet that Tread the Earth, InTe 30, for instance), but that maybe because of the amount of information rather than the size of the target.

My thoughts exactly.

See The Central Rule, p 111. You're all good. 8)

Any twists in history are possible - Ptolemy's system might never have been lost in your Saga, and all maps and directions come complete with universally recognized coordinates that every mapmaker knows by heart. If that makes a better story than "history", go with it!

But with the timing of the "rediscovery" (ca 1350), I have to wonder if it wasn't tied, even if only in some indirect way, to the Crusader sack of Constantinople. The "treasures" of knowledge that were randomly and ignorantly taken in that pillage were then scattered across all of Europe, and some bounced around for generations before anyone took a good look at them, or even before they made it into the hands of someone who could read them, much less appreciate what they were.

The fact that copies existed or "circulated" doesn't mean anyone read or truly understood them. Imagine an Arabic or Greek text with this radical idea that no one (for centuries) had ever conceived of before - it would not only take someone who could understand the words, but with enough vision and experience traveling/navigating to understand the significance and "modern" application. Even a functioning Arabic map, with big bold Roman numerals at the top and sides, could be easily mistaken for a simple reference for notes and commentary, nothing related to navigation. Today, with all our multi-media, there are still lost artworks that drift around in plain sight, prints by daVinci tucked into used books that no one has recognized for longer durations. With all the ignorance, cultural and academic prejudice and narrow-mindedness of the medieval era... yeah...

I wasn't actually suggesting an alternate history, or even a secret history where the Order had rediscovered Ptolemaic mapmaking. Rather, I'm pointing out that it might be a good story to rediscover the wisdom of the ancients and integrate it with Hermetic understanding.

I believe the Geographia was rediscovered as part of the 14th century Byzantine Renaissance. No, copies weren't in general use in Byzantium before that, but at least one existed in monastic libraries. You didn't need to go fight a magic dragon to find the book. I'm less clear on what was known in the Islamic World. It was al-Kwarizmi I was thinking of who improved on the coordinates in Ptolemy, back in the 9th century. Four hundred years later, I don't know.

Whoa. I'd never noticed that sentence before on p113: "However, the size of the target does make a difference to the level of the spell, with the sole exception of Intellego magic." Okay ... but that seems to be all it says about that? Is it trying to imply that an Intellego spell with Target: Individual can affect any relevant target no matter what its size is?


It's not saying "Size doesn't matter at all" - it's saying that "Size does not always matter with Intellego spells". Intellego Guidelines vary by Form, but they are not (always) limited by "individual" targets and sizes.

The "mind" of an elephant or the "mind" of a mouse are both "1 individual mind". You don't need "+magnitudes" to learn the emotions of a giant (not even if he has "giant" emotions), nor is a small storm or a small (area) illusion easier to analyze than a big one. However, if an InTe spell tells the caster the components and natural properties of a rock, that does not mean the same spell (or even a similar magnitude spell) will tell him the components and natural properties of an entire mountain range. Somewhere, The Central Rule comes into play.

For my money, I would say that there are two different spells here. One to know to know the direction of north and another to know where the touched location is.

For the location finding spell, I think it needs to Part target, but it can be built with the level 2 InTe guideline. Identifying where somewhere is, is a visible property that somebody with appropriate skill (Area Lore) could determine just by looking.

The north finding spell could probably be done with the same level 2 InTe guideline, and Part target (but would be a different spell, because you are learning a different property). The direction of north at a location is also something that somebody with appropriate skill (Artes Liberales (Astronomy), or Profession: Navigator) can determine just by looking.

The existence or not of GPS co-ordinates is irrelevant. People knew how to accurately describe the location of things; certainly within a league (which is 3 miles). "One league east of London" or "on the university side of Paris" is perfectly accurate.

It was suggested before that GPS was not necessary, but some frame of reference was.

"One league east of Paris" is useless if you don't know where or what Paris is - and without Area Lore:Europe, you don't. (It's obviously not useless if "Paris" is your frame of reference, but then you have Area Lore: Paris or whatever.)

I think it's (in some ways) similar to the difference between using InTe to know the "quality" of a gem, and trying to use it to know the "value" of a gem. The first is objective information, the second is relative to economics, which InTe doesn't provide. Here, the spell is giving a "relative value" compared to something else, which is perfectly valid in design, but without a known, fixed starting point it's futile.

Unless the spell has a known point of reference, either known after the fact or designed into the spell, the spell has no way to know whether to reference London or Paris or Timbuktu, and the caster won't know exactly where those are relative to each other anyway.

Remember, "we" know Europe, but in 1200 no one really did. I'm not sure even academics looking at a copy of that map did, that they really comprehended what they were looking at. I had no idea really about the the US and my state until I learned to drive and physically traveled between cities. I had flown between various cities, and could draw an accurate map of the state or the area, but that just didn't mean the same thing, not even close. :confused:

Well, of course, but the spell gives the caster the knowledge of where the location is. So, if "one league east of Paris" is not meaningful to him, he will conceive of the location in some other terms that are meaningful to him at the time. The same location can also be "100 miles northwest of the covenant", or "half an hour's march south of last night's campsite", or "50 yards down the river from the mill", for example.

He doesn't need a fixed frame of reference. He just needs a meaningful reference at the time of casting. It's not a GPS, it's a magic spell.

I would have issue that interpretation too. The "value" of a gem is just as objective a measure that can be discerned by looking, if you have the appropriate skills --- like Profession: Jeweller --- so I don't see why an InTe spell couldn't give you this information.

I was reading through TMRE and it seems that rekindling Ptolomy's cartography system as was suggested in an earlier post might lead eventually to either the founding or discovery of a new mystery cult akin to Arithmetic Magic or Hermetic Astrology.

The cult would be focused on the study of the Earth. Knowing where an object is would be a relatively minor power. The substance would be in understanding where things belong. This could lead to Vim spells for understanding, creating, manipulating, etc auras. Also understanding how vis sources work (magical caves and such). There could be bonuses available for casting spells or crafting items in particular locations or under particular circumstances.

I would see this not as a druidic style (concerned with nature) so much as a geologist/planetologist style. The power derives from the essence of the earth and to a lesser extent its position in relation to its moon and sun, rather than from the things that haopen to be growing on it.