Intelligo, Imagonem, and Ignem

So there are a number of Intelligo spells which allow you to see through a substance without it impeding your vision, but this would not allow light to penetrate the material in order to carry the species through it. Does anyone have an idea of how this is supposed to work because I keep feeling like its playing rock, paper, scissors and somehow the other person keeps pulling up "snake".

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This is just my own idea, but what if the ability to see through a material would allow the species to penetrate it, for your eyes only. Now, if you look through stone, and there's a cavern or a chamber with no light reaching it, you'll be able to see through the stone to it, but unless you also have the ability to see in the dark, you won't be seeing into the chamber, it will still be dark.

Or if the spell allows you to detect the species emitted onto the wall, allowing you to see what you would be seeing if your eyes were the wall.

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Intellego Imaginem (ArM5 p.145 box) improves "your senses by bringing in images (usually sounds and sights) not normally available." It does not need to handle existing species for that. If the room on the other side of the substance has no light, however, there are also no images there to be seen with Intellego Imaginem.


I hesitate to bring in real world physics into Ars Magica, but we know substances opaque to visible light can be transparent to other forms of light and vice versa (clear PVC plastic, for example, is opaque to Infrared).

Perhaps there are species emitted by objects that are not hindered by the opacity of the material. Intellego spells would allow you to receive and interpret those species.

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My solution is to say that iconic species do not need light to travel. Light hits images which, in turn, generate iconic species. These species travel on their own with no further interaction with light.

Iconic species are blocked by images but not by matter. Unlike light, ergo you can see through an invisible creature yet it still casts a shadow.

This is different from HoH: Societates, but it is better in that it works.

There are lots of discussions on this forum, which show reasons and working of the ArM5 rules about light and invisibility.
You can start with Mark Shirley's explanation here, then continue here and here.

Here's where it comes down to- I cast a spell to see through dirt and look down at my feet, which are on a dirt road.
Whatever is below the dirt road is not illuminated.
Do I see endless darkness because there is no light, or do I see stone however far down that might be? Would I see a corpse buried by bandits years ago? It seems to me that you should be able to see something, otherwise the spell is useless. On the other hand being able to see through rock with target vision shouldn't allow one to see the other side of the earth...

I can't follow your thoughts here. Could you give us the Range and Target, and perhaps the Requisites, of the spell you imagine? If it is Target: Vision, you might further specify the magical sense granted.

range: personal
target vision
Effect- see through dirt/see through dirt and stone

Looking up ArM5 p.113f Magical Senses, we find that they grant "the recipient information through one of his senses", in this case the sense of sight. The species created by that spell are magical, and are perceived through the caster's eyes. They do not cause an Imaginem requisite in many instances.

We have p.127 InAu True Sight of the Air (R: Per, D: Sun, T: Vision): "Lets you see clearly through all manners of obfuscation in the air nearby, including smoke, fog and dust, even if the obfuscation is magical. (Base: 1, +2 Sun, +4 Vision)"
And we have p.153 InTe The Miners Keen Eye (R: Per, D: Conc, T: Vision): "You can see any type of mineral (gold, diamond, sand), specified at the time of the casting, through up to three paces of intervening material. ... (Base 2, +1 Conc, +4 Vision, +1 see through intervening material)"
So "seeing through intervening material" is not just subsumed under Magical Senses without having the Form of that material being the spell's Form, and sometimes requires a further increase in magnitude to account for specific penetration through that material.
Yes, ArM5 often uses special magnitude increases to account for spell properties not handled by the guidelines - and this is also the case with The Miners Keen Eye.
But I do not find any later InTe T: Vision spell showing, how to do away with such added magnitudes.

This would lead me to add further magnitudes to the InTe T: Vision spells "which allow you to see through a substance without it impeding your vision", to account for the depth it penetrates through dirt or stone.
The p.153 Guidelines have: "Intellego Terram spell levels are not affected by the material of the thing affected." So there is no difference between penetrating dirt or penetrating stone in the spell level.


That would require a specific spell with a Corpus requisite, but is certainly possible.

That is not a problem: R: Per T: Vision magical senses create magical iconic species which the caster can see, provided he is not blind, blinded or himself in the dark.
For each R: Per T: Vision spell you need to define, just what these iconic species shall show the caster, and how.


InTe level 20 guideline "make your senses unhindered by earth"
apply with vision target as per True Sight of the Air, only now True Sight of the Earth.
Now look at your feet, what do you see (aside from your feet)

The rest of the text you quote looks important to me: "(for example, see right through a rock)."
So, I would still require the extra magnitudes for depth of penetration from The Miner's Keen Eye, if you go beyond a big rock.

That depends on how deep your spell can go (payed with extra magnitudes). If up to that depth there is something which can be just seen under the earth, then you see that. If all is dark there, your magical sense does show you nothing your normal sight would not show you anyway.

But you could also specify your magical sense differently, making it more useful, e. g. as "show me the forms of everything, that is not dirt or rock, up to a specific depth". That does not require a Requisite, if it just shows the forms like an excavation under the ashes of Pompei.
Imagine seeing into the ground: this looks like the hollow left by a corpse, this like a dagger, this like a fistful of coins - and lo, this is the relic of the fallen wooden beam that likely slew him.

Except that intelligo specifically states that there are no limits for size on p. 113 of the main rulebook.
so infinite size with no extra magnitudes by RAW.

"Seeing through intervening material" has nothing to do with the size of the Target of an Intellego spell (as described on p.113 box Targets and Sizes).
We are anyway talking about a T: Vision spell, right?

There is also the fact that Miner's keen eye is base 2, "learn one visible property of an object" which in this case is used to detect the presence of whichever mineral is being targeted, with a +1 to penetrate through rock which a vision spell cannot normally do. You are comparing this to a level 20 base effect where the actual effect is "make your senses unhindered by earth" and are using an apples and oranges comparison to completely invalidate the guideline and rules as written.

Not so.

I use the full base 20 guideline as written.

Make your senses unhindered by earth (for example, see right through a rock).

When you exceed it by trying to substitute the earth to a big rock, I accommodate you by using the InTe means from The Miners Keen Eye to penetrate intervening material further.

I recall:

Quite so. The level 20 InTe guideline also apparently doesn't let you.

EDIT: I would read that guideline to not penetrate the Uluru, if the saga needs to have a precise limit. But that is me.

Yes, I think there needs to be limits, but I don't think borrowing a limit from an example base 2 spell that was apparently defined arbitrarily and applying it to a base 20 guideline is appropriate. The guideline doesn't say "unhindered by up to 3 feet of earth" it says "unhindered by earth" If I use that guideline with a 6 foot thick wall, say on the outside of a castle I would not expect to have to pay extra magnitudes to see through given the rule that intelligo does not change based on sizes. The question I am looking at is more about "philosophae" instead of "lets arbitrarily limit magic and cripple it" Is there an inner sphere that this spell would not penetrate, does ME have something like a mantle that would be considered aq instead of the that the spell would not see through? Can I see into a darkened cave, or what about a body that is burried and thus light does not reach to cause it to emit species?

Neither did I suggest it. Read again:

This I answered here: