Investigating Creatures?

I was so happy Guardians of the Forests gave us rules (or at least guidelines) for genius loci. I use them all the time for some reason.

But what would happen if a mage, let's say accidentally, tried to investigate one.

For example, a covenant is next to a lake. The lake has weird properties, so the magi decide to spend a season or two investigating the lake to see what it can do.

But the SG know that the reason the lake has wierd properties is because it has/is a genius locus. It's important to me that the lake itself is the spirit-- not that there's a spirit that lives in the lake, so investigating it should reveal something. And it's also important to me that the players get some sort of information to lead them further into the mystery.

So, mechanically what do you think should happen? Should I assign values to each of the spirit's powers and let them investigate as normal? Should Hermetic investigation just not be useful in the sort of thing? (I don't like that either.) I'd like to find the best rules answer to this first, then decide if its the right story answer.

Investigation (as in ArM5 p.100) of the lake, with or without genius loci, will - by strict rules - only yield information if the lake is an enchanted device. Otherwise other means of investigation - like Intellego spells - are needed. So, if your magi wish to spend time investigating the lake, they will rather invent one or more such spells. InAq25 Voice of the Lake (ArM5 p. 122) appears very appropriate, and will put them in direct contact with the genius loci if cast at the lake.

Kind regards,


I have not gotten the book yet but from what I gather, you wan't to investigate a spirit wthat lies within a lake.

I believe that formulaic spells would reveil magic on the spot. ADD'L mag would give you more info(Magical creature/Might/Vis contained/AGE/etc)Voice of the lake would let you speak to the spirit.

Now this takes a few minutes.

If the magus want's to inves a season, you have many options.

1- He talks to the spirit for the season. He will learn some Magic lore/area lore/history of the lake lore/etc.
2- He can test the spirit with spells & mundane test. This will probably A-Create an enemy and B have you lean some Magic lore
3- He can capture the spirit & put it into a bottle & study it in his lab. This will allow the Magus to lean the actual powers of the spirit as an invested object.

Hope it helps,


The problem is, the wizard doesn't know that there's a spirit in the lake.

The lake is doing wierd things. The wizard wants to know why. He thinks the lake is itself magical, and so spends a season investigating it as if it were a magical item.

What does he find out?

To make the problem harder, the spirit is the lake, and the lake is the spirit. So when he hauls up the water he's actually investigating part of the spirit itself.

In the end, I think I'm going to go with, "nothing" or "doesn't matter." That the investigation will reveal nothing and they'll have to find another way to find out about the lake.

But here's a more general question.

Let's say a wizard is considering taking a magical creature as his familiar. He wants to know what powers the creature naturally possesses before binding it.

How can he do that Hermetically?

Nothing official, but this is what would happen if someone tried to investigate it in my game...

Now, since the lake is not really an enchanted item, the investigation itself would fail (regardless what he rolled). However, I would give him Practice experience on the appropriate "Lake Lore".
In the GotF it is said that you can embark on the Path unknowingly...

As for a creature's powers, I don't see a Hermetic way to investigate them. However, how about just asking the creature what it can do? If you are considering it your future familiar, you have to befriend it somehow in any case; and spells to talk to an animal aren't That difficult.

I would definately give the character something from the experience, I'd give them a larger quantity of xp from exposure than the two per season suggested in the rules if they spent some of it on some appropriate skill (like the previously mentioned "lake lore").

I would imagine that an animal equivelent of "posing the silent question would do the trick". I could also imagine a creo animal spell that creates a desire in the animal to demonstrate all of it's powers would be effectatious (base it off of the creo mentem guidlines).

In theory I don't see why a spell based on intellego vim couldn't do it but in theory, I don't see why intellego vim won't work for enchanted items as well. (I work from the assumption that the level would be impractically high.)

This is what I was leaning towards, when all is said and done. Although I love the idea of ending up with a skill in Lake Lore. That I'll definitely have to think about.

One of the problems I've been having is this is supposed to be a major mystery of the covenant, one that an almost arch-Mage hadn't been able to solve. And then I realized that all he would need is Voice of the Lake or whatever, and could ask the lake directly what was happening.

Of course, it was then suggested that perhaps that since the genius locus of the lake is the lake it self in the way, that the lake would be protected by the spirit's Magic Might (which I'm thinking would be 40-60). It would take even a Bonisagus Intellego lab-rat a while to get a 40 penetration on a level 25 spell.

Well not that much.

Te+Fo+Int+Mastery+Aura+penetration skill+penetration bonus + Vis

15 + 10 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 5 + Penetration bonus= 35 + Penetration Bonus

If the Mage fixed an arcarne connection to get +4, The penetration bonus would be :

Penetration skill + Mastery * Arcane connection = (5 +1) * 4 = +24

Penenetration total = 35 + 24 - spell level = 34 + die roll. + 2(Booming voice & augmented Gestuals)

Mage Stats :

Penetration 4 specialised in Vim
Mastery level 1 in penetration
Int: 2

This is almost a basic mage 7 he did not even waste vis. I guess the Almost archmage will never get to be one :stuck_out_tongue: