Invisibility doesn't actually work?

Hey all,

Been thinking about Invisibility of late and I've realised that within the meta physics of the game, it doesn't actually work.... (looking for someone to say otherwise here)

By destroying the species you generate, you become invisible - but no where that I can find does it say you become insubstantial to other species / translucent - so wouldn't you visually block anything that was 'behind' you - basically you;d be a waking 'null' zone of vision, probably mistaken for a walking shadow..

...please say I wrong :frowning:


PS Otherwise, I guess we could use ReIm to 'bend' species past you and not emit your own...

Seeing other Imaginem spells and species explanations, I think that's right.

However invisibility is such an habit in those games that I guess they had to say it works by creating an absurd reasoning.

The last time this issue came up on this forum was here. You might also look here and here.

In short: turning something invisible with ArM5 p.146 Veil of Invisibility or similar PeIm magic implies indeed, that species need to be passed around or through it in some way. This does not require a Rego requisite.


Let's not throw the core game under the bus here. The issue came about with art and academe. Prior to that, it was reasonable to have iconic species blocked by images but not by mater. It was an (IMO) unwise desire to adhere to period beliefs either at the expense of having the magic system make sense, or without realizing the ramifications of the statement which caused this screw up.

If one makes a house rule that Iconic species can travel through matter but are blocked by visual images, and require light to be emitted from images but not to travel, then our issues disappear.

A&A is from 2008. AFAICS, the text you dislike is already from 2007:

So ArM5 rules did not wait for A&A to apply scholastic optics to iconic species.


Thanks for the fast response folks, and the links to the other threads (Really should have searched myself first...)

Seems its been discussed at length, think I'll go with the justification from Erik to keep things simple and not worry about it :slight_smile:


I got the book incorrect, it was Societates, not Art and Academe. Thanks for the correction.

This also fixes the issue of seeing double any time a visual illusion is created. Otherwise CrIm images also let you see what's on the other side.

There's a problem with house rules: they are typically not worded precisely enough to be discussed outside of the troupe which applies them.

AFAICS Erik Tyrrell does not claim, that ArM5 standard rules make all illusionary objects transparent.

If I understand him correctly, on his table he just makes all matter by itself transparent to all iconic species, while places emitting iconic species - which include most matter - themselves typically remain intransparent.
His house rule requires iconic species to travel independently from light, which most matter blocks and thereby casts shadows. So his iconic species need a specific kind of 'optics', i. e. laws how they travel and how they interact with eyes, haze in the air, water, mirrors, prisms, lenses and such, which affect their looks and directions. Especially sorting out the interaction of Eric's iconic species with shadows cast by matter can become tricky - but I will not attempt this.


I always interpreted it as the iconic species travels with light, and something 'visually solid' blocks light. A window allows light through, therefore allows sight through. A stone does not. A thin sheet of cloudy crystal is a middle-road, which allows some light through, but jumbles up the species travelling along it.
But that's just my casual interpretation from discussing an illusion with a friend, rather than in depth reading. I still haven't gone into A&A, or played an imaginem specialist.

That's more or less it. light interacts with images to emit iconic species. These iconic species travel without the need for any media to support them, they are blocked by other images. Light and species are different things, this means that an invisible person will still cast a shadow.... how very convenient.

I can take no credit for creating this on my own, it was what I took to be the model in the game. It's what I deduced from exposure to the published material, the Berk list, the older fanzines, this and the previous message board. Eventually it became clear that it wasn't what the game said, but I thought it more sensible so I stuck with it.

Ya, that does seem to fit the mechanics better than what is stated. How would this method handle being able to see invisible things and being able to see in pitch darkness, both of which can be done in canon?

Wouldn't that work with extramission theory, where beams shoot out of the eye to capture targets? A little like passive vs active sonar.

If it was good enough for Galen, it's good enough for Ars.

For finding an invisible creature:
Magical sense spells can detect things that don't give off the appropriate species, they'd work.

Spells that determine where invisible things are indirectly such as an intellego auram spell which finds the edges of the air can work (it need not be eyes of the bat).

Dispelling the invisibility

Marking the invisible things in some other way, such as making them glow.

A spell that wouldn't work in this model for finding invisible things is discern the images of truth and falsehood. It appears to examine images for changes, invisibility destroys images so there wouldn't be a thing to interact with.

A thing that I've brought up before regarding darkness is that we don't have published guidelines for intellego imaginem that actually directly detect images, but they could reasonably exist.

I like this method a lot. I find it to be very intuitive and natural if you will. What problems do people see with it though?

I was thinking of non-Hermetic methods like Second Sight.

Again, I was thinking non-Hermetic, like See in Darkness. But we do have this Intellego Imaginem guideline from the core book (my emphasis):

I wouldn't assume that this indicates absolute darkness. I haven't seen anything that specifically allows this, which is consistent with the idea that there aren't even faint species to discern in absolute darkness.

I just mentioned the guideline because Erik said "regarding darkness" and Intellego Imaginem guidelines to detect images.

But, again, I wasn't assuming anything about this guideline implying complete darkness. As I said before, I was referring to things like See in Darkness, which says

So, yes, I have seen something which allows seeing in complete darkness.

We had that already.

Summarizing briefly: Pitt Murmann for ArM5 has only ever witten MoH's Tolides, so is verrry unlikely to introduce valid clarifications to the natural philosophy of the game. That magus' See in Darkness is a Virtue, not a spell guideline or effect:

Compare this with:

So even "complete darkness" in ArM5 can mean "darkness or semi-darkness, such as in deep woods or at night", not absolute darkness without any iconic species around.
You encounter darkness at night. And semi-darkness in deep woods. And with Strong Faerie Blood,

So the text states, that both in darkness and semi-darkness, intended as different conditions of lighting that can hamper vision, you can see normally. And since darkness and semi-darkness are otherwise unexplained words, the text provides typical examples for both. Finally, it uses a chiasmus to closely bind together the two examples and the words 'darkness' and 'semi-darkness', and to describe the enhanced vision, which Strong Faerie Blood provides, as a single effect.


I know we've seen it before. That's why I didn't bring it up specifically. But people keep saying the Hermetic guidelines don't specify complete darkness as a reason that the line in general never allows seeing in complete darkness. Since it wasn't as known as I thought, I brought it up explicitly.

Read again: "much the same," not "the same." "Much the same" means nearly the same, as opposed to exactly the same. You don't see me saying here that Strong Faerie Blood says you can see in complete darkness, do you? I'm also not saying it doesn't. It allows "darkness or semi-darkness," whereas See in Darkness allows "complete darkness." Complete? Dictionaries say things like "to the greatest extent or degree; total." Total darkness. Meanwhile, we can debate about the lack of clarity in Strong Faerie Blood and how we are supposed to distinguish between "darkness" and "semi-darkness," but I was avoiding that because there is no need for that debate when looking at See in Darkness. Go look at the other thread, and you'll see I was explaining this to you before. Neither "complete darkness" nor "much the same" have been changed in the errata.

And, sure, you can go on again about Pitt Murmann. But when it comes down to it, it wasn't just Pitt Murmann. It also made it through play testing and was approved by the line editor to become canon, whether you like it or not.


is not necessarily as you're using it. You choose to read it this way. But sentences need to be written this way. Look at a sentence such as "You can use this program to view an image in many colors or monochrome, such as 256 colors or sepia." Does that mean many colors is limited to 256 colors? Nope. Does that mean the sentence is constructed incorrectly? Nope. Does this sentence use the same structure? Yes. Thus your reading is artificially limited to make your opinion look right, not because of what it actually stated. (And, yes, I have been in total darkness at night, while I have also been in plenty of non-total darkness at night.)