InTe Spells

So, I'm looking for a spell to search through a mountain range to see if there are any valuable mineral deposits in them. This mountain range is about 60-70 square miles of mountains, if that's important.

The obvious place to start is InTe. Looking at the guidelines, I see "Level 10: Learn all the natural properties of an object" and think that's a good starting place, though perhaps "Level 15: Sense all the mundane properties of a composite object" is better, since what I'm looking for is a mix of rock and metal. I can touch the mountains, so I only need Touch Range; Concentration Duration ought to be fine; and Part Target is a must for mountains that are attached to the rest of the Earth.

Do far I have (Base 15 + 1 Touch, +1 Conc, +1 Part = level 30). Do I need more?

In particular, do I need +2 magnitudes to effect metal if I want to find hidden metal deposits?

Then there's the question of size. Page 113 of the ArM 5 core rulebook notes "INTELLEGO SPELLS: Not affected by Target size." Does that mean that I can check out the entire 70 square miles of mountains with one casting of this spell? That seems pretty good for just base Part. But the rules specifically state that Intellego spells are not affected by Target size.

I understand that a level 30 spell is relatively big. But it doesn't seem all that much for a spell that can find mineral deposits in an entire mountain range.

Am I missing something?

A mountain is joined to the ground (ArM5 112), so it's not a discrete object. Which means you probably need a Boundary target.


You'll need the extra magnitudes for metal.

You'll also need extra magnitudes for size! Mountain ranges are big.

So this is going to be a very, very, very expensive spell.



Why is the material important, I ask as RAW states:

I thought the Base 15 was for composite items; meaning those with non-Terram substances and would have requisites. ?

Couldn't you work with the InTe Base 20 guideline "Make your senses unhindered by earth (for example, see right through a rock)"?

By the rules as written, I think you need no magnitudes for extra size (as In spells aren't affected by Target size) nor to detect the metal (as InTe spells are not affected by material).

Personally, I'd impose the need to affect a target of this size, requiring extra magnitudes to increase the Terram base Individual. But that would be a house rule. By the RAW, I think you aren't missing anything.

Edit: come to think of it, you can make a T:Individual variant and just find all the metal and other precious deposits in the entire Earth. :confused: Crazy.

You do not even need magic for that! Every mediocre medieval scholar can tell you, that all the metal and gems not yet brought forth lie in the Earth. Where else should they be?

Locating them in the Earth is quite another issue. ArM5 p.153 The Miner's Keen Eye is the lightweight approach going 3 paces deep. A base 20, +1 D: Conc, +4 T: Vision spell similar to it, with maybe another +1 for complexity, can let you see as deep as Vision allows. (EDIT: jason72 had mentioned that already.)

And then the next step is getting the metal and gems out.


I'm not sure! In fact, technically, I believe Trogdor is right. The mountain range is the composite object, and you are learning all its mundane properties, including the location of any deposits of precious materials -- but also the location of any cave systems, the quality of the soil etc. In fact, if all you want to find is the location of valuable deposits you can probably do it in stages with lower level spontaneous spells.
First, ask the question: what materials does the mountain range contain? Let's say the answer is copper and sulphur and granite and whatever ... :slight_smile:
Then, ask the question: where are the copper deposits located?
Then, ask the question: what is the easiest path to reaching deposit X by mining?
Each of these questions can be asked using a (separate) InTe10 spell: Base 4 "Learn one mundane property of an object", +1 Touch, +1Part.
In this regard note that generic "terrain" is considered an "object" in the examples given -- it does not require the "composite" object guideline (which I'd guess is more for man-made stuff with moving parts, like a suit of armour, but I'm just guessing on that). Note that you are not targeting the deposits, you are targeting the whole mountain range. Asking where are the deposits, is like asking where on her skin the milk maid has her hidden mole :slight_smile: You are not targeting the mole, you are targeting the maid.

Now. Ars Magica tells you: if the level seems to low, raise it!
But do a few level 10 spells seem too low to detect where the precious minerals are located in a mountain range? To me they don't.
You still need to get the stuff out (as One Shot correctly points out) and then find someone willing to pay you for it etc. And with Hermetic Magic producing wealth isn't hard -- think of how easy it is to get salt from the sea, for example.
So ... YMMV.

Actually, the Miner's Keen Eye does something different: it targets the mineral deposit directly, and you learn its size and purity.

So let's check these questions.

No big problem here: it may be several mundane properties to ask for, though.

Look up this spell for the precision typically provided by the level 4 guideline:

Making precise location of a feature in space "a mundane property of an object" or part of "all natural properties of an object" requires to the very least a troupe decision. If the troupe allows it, there will be at the very least a raise in complexity proportional to the requested precision.

And this is not even InTe any more: it is a question about medieval and/or magical mining technologies.


That's a very good point you raise. We are looking at a question with an answer that's not one item, but a list of items. Are we talking about "one piece of information" or more? I think it's just one piece of information, and thus one question. Consider The Physician's Eye: it tells you all the ailments of a patient, with the Base 5 guideline "Sense a specific piece of information about a body". Still, I agree with you that this is marginal.

I agree it should be a troupe's decision -- as always! In fact, as I said, the troupe should just add levels if it feels the effect is too "cheap", just because.
On the other hand, I find the example you bring cleverly devised but slightly misleading. You can't quite compare precision in dating with precision in positioning. If you look at other Intellego spells, the positioning information is almost always pretty good. I do agree however, that if you are looking for something in a radius of dozens of kilometers, you won't pinpoint it within one inch. But within a few hundred meters, perhaps even within a few dozen meters? Sure. Then just move closer and recast.

Ah, but by the very same token, you should not be able to ask if terrain is "treacherous"! I might agree with you (might!) about the mundane mining if the magus is ignorant about it as I am, but not about mining through some means that the magus understands, such as Hermetic magic (see e.g. Intuition of the Forest).

In any case, the mining might be the tricky part. I am curious how people would go about it Hermetically if one detected, say, a silver vein a few hundred paces underground at a certain spot.

If the troupe determines the precision achievable properly, it forces the magus out to prospect in person, and thus turns plot killer magic into a plot device.

So you propose to your troupe an InTe guideline "Gain an intuitive knowledge of an ore deposit (for example, know how to mine it without having shafts collapse or slide)."?


I believe there was a spell like this proposed on the Anulus connectens thread, I will have look..


I wouldn't personally consider "how to safely mine the area around some materials" to be a property of the materials themselves. Partially so I can at least pretend non-magi are still useful, since extrapolating off of this would lead to entire wagonfulls of nonsense, but mostly because it fails to fit both my personal sensibilities and my knowledge of medieval paradigm. How to affect a change in something is not usually a property of that thing anyway - using Finesse to imitate a craft is very different from being able to create a temporary score in the necessary Craft skill - and proper mining technique would require knowledge about a lot of different things besides just the rockstuff leading up to the ore.


Ok, I'm wrong about that!




Hmm. Did I miss that rule too?



It appears so :slight_smile: I must say I don't see the rationale for it. I get why Mentem won't be affected by Size, although even there I'm not sure if it's a good idea. But why does size not matter for Intellego? Why should it be just-as-easy to magically investigate a tiny cabin as a large castle? A mountain range as a pebble? I utterly fail to see the reasoning here.

Anyways, in re: to the above discussion: you can always interpret the guidelines in a limited manner, and sometimes that works out very nicely. But the guidelines themselves seem to me to indicate that a spell that the OP's spell should provide detailed information to the magus about whatever is in that mountain range. The group may choose to interpret the guidelines in a more limiting manner to deny this possibility, or to house rule extra magnitudes for size regardless of the rules explicitly saying not to. But these are group decisions, not rules questions.

Actually, my considerations on the "precision" available had nothing to do with playability, but only with other published examples.
Though you are right that playability is the most important issue! However, I do not understand why you would call "plot killer magic" something that provided the magus even with perfect, split-hair precise knowledge of where the ores are located. This is an honest question: I think that even if the magic worked that way (which I agree, it probably doesn't) it would still leave almost every plot about the mine "intact".

Well, that could be interesting, though in analogy to Intuition of the Forest (which is not Intuition of the Raspberry) it should probably be something like Intuition of the Mountain, or of the Earth's Bowels -- covering an entire environment. If all you want to know is a single fact -- the "shortest safe path from X to Y", or "is the footing on this path treacherous" the Level 4 Base guideline should be enough.

I think the idea is that if you have an AC to a mountain, and an AC to the proverbial needle in the haystack, locating the first should be no harder than locating the second. Similarly, I think the idea is that talking to a big boulder should be no harder than talking to a pebble. And so on. I guess there are some things that "intuitively" should become harder with size, and others that shouldn't, and the game designers decided to privilege the latter -- perhaps on the basis that if investigating the castle seems to have too low a level, you can always justify extra magnitudes with "complexity". Of course, they could have made separate cases, but that, at least, I can confidently say would have been a terrible idea: the system shouldn't be more complex than it already is.

I'm actually convinced by Ramidel's observation that the Target should be Boundary. After all, TME sets forth the proposition that you can have a Boundary spell cover an entire island. Why not have it cover an entire mountain range? That seems no more extreme to me. So we'd have something like the following:

Secrets of the Mountain Range
InTe 45
R: Touch, D: Conc, T: Boundary
This spell allows the caster to learn all the mundane properties of a mountain range, including the location of any caves and mineral deposits.
(Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, +4 Boundary = level 45)

You might even drop it to InTe 40 if you don't think a mountain is a "composite" object. I'm leaning toward an interpretation that it's not composite myself.

And that satisfies the sniff test to me as well. A level 40 spell seems high enough to get that kind of information.