Map as a Talisman

Salve Soldales

So: My Mercere Maga is thinking of creating a magical map as her talisman so that her heirs will have a wonderful magic item.

I'm envisioning a map that can give weather reports on certain places, what type of vegetation is there and is it healthy, sense the mood of the general populace (War, holy days, good harvests) and sense the general metaphysical landscape (very coarse grained aura yes/no)

two problems:

  1. What Scrying implications are there for this?
  2. How can I create this without Great Talisman?

The second is more annoying, as I would like to have the ability of the map to update itself as more and more arcane connections are added in. Maybe it just needs an ability to have a certain number of "slots" into which one could place arcane connections, then an ability to change that number of slots.


Are the effects I have suggested too powerful? what other Hermetic effects could be put in that might be useful? I was thinking of a way to detect how many languages/and of which type of languages spoken there, but this seems way too vague to do via arcane connection to the place. But if I want it to store that sort of information how can it be changed after the creator has died? In order for this to be useful it musn't be static.

Maybe this can be more easily done with an invested device, and a Talisman is overkill, and she would be better of making an uber device for traveling redcaps.

Any Ideas?

Bob Dillon

I'm afraid I can't help with your "how to do it" questions, but can contribute a little in the "what can it do" category.

The traditional use for a magical Mappamundi is for teleportation ("transport") effects. In the Alpine Apocrypha (material for the Alps tribunal that was cut from the book), Timothy had a research covenant devoted to this, a map that was an arcane connection to everywhere in the world. There is a plot seed in one of our canon books about a similar map as well, damned if I can remember where it is.

The scrying implications are very real.
I can see a SG say "Your basically fine but watch it". It would come down to your tribunal and how protected you are. It isn't so bad that you couldn't pull it off IMO, but it could be made into up into a scandal if someone wanted to come after you politically. Similarly if this is the only place you're testing the limits it's likely fine, but you had better not be doing anything that even remotely looks like "messing with mundanes" as you've already used up some leniency. All that said, I think the Order would basically be fine with a [strike]DPW[/strike] Mercere Maga making an item that helps the mail get through on principle.

I don't know how simulationist your game is, but the other argument to be made the Order has to be hyper paranoid about scrying or else there would be to much telecommunication, and that with a culture of being completely unreasonable about scrying the setting would look vastly different. By this line of reasoning you map would be totally not ok.

as for viable effects. I think a MuIm for updating the map is cool effect. Because it's specifically on your talisman I'd let you drop MuMe reqs from Intelligo spells you cast to have the output show up on the map. You could also go the ReAq route for messing with the ink, to keep the final output mundane and thus have no need to maintain it. Pop a couple cheap locator effect in there, and your good to go. InCo to locate someone via arcane connection is only base lvl3. I'd let you do this without consummate talisman. I could also see InMe that let's the holder draw a map, give it to a local if you trust them.

Another effect that I'd OK is ReVi summoning map, that let's you summon the nearest spirit of (form) from a spot a selected spot on the map, rather than nearest the place of casting. Mechanically I'd let you get away with loosy targeting because summoning is already loosy like that, and an RP scene with a spirit is cooler than SG reporting on an Intelligo spell. Also it gives you a lot of flexibility in the kinds of information you can get with out loading up on many different effects. Finally it's very friendly with respect to scying. It will never even accidentally bounce off a parma or aegis.
If you did go consummate you have a really nice option. I think a MuVi that changed either the range or target of an In spell to Road would be very useful as most formula aren't written this way, and you can still use them normally without the talisman.

Let's go step by step.
Considering the number of effects, it is at least a major enchanted item. Depending on the number of effects and their magnitude, we will see if a Talisman is required to squeeze everathing we need into the item.

For any effect requiring to gather information without seeing the target, the range needs to be Arcane connection (+4 to base effect). The alternative with the scope of the map being a well defined region - which does not change - to havea range of touch (+1), with a target of Boundary does not work since spell with Boundary are ritual.
The target of most spell will be Part (+1), with several increase for size modifier (+3 covers a mile radius, +4 covers 4 miles radius, +5 for 13 miles radius: each time the surface increases by 10 times).
Duration will be Instant, just enough time to gather the information and have the Imaginem spells display the info on the map.

Amongst the effect to be considered:
InTe 30: Sense the feet that tread the earth to track movement of people

To have a mapping of an Area, InTe base 4 (see an object and its surroundings) seems appropriate - the Arcane connection will be with said object, with an Arcane connection which is stabilised. Herbam and Aquam réquisits are needed to map rivers, forests and what not. So the overall effect will be InTe (Aq, He) 45 Arcane, Part (+3). You can increase the range by removing the requisits, but you will need a different spell for the rivers and the forests (InAq, InHe). A spell of level 50 becomes a ritual, thus cannot be fitted into a magical item.

To have it diplays on a map to be seen by everybody, it is more than a cosmetic effect: The Land as it Is
Either CrIm 1 to affect one sense, possibly 2 or 3 if the mage wants to include smells and sounds. Range will be limited to self (the map is modifying its own appearance), duration will be either Sun, Moon or Conc (with the item maintaining the concentration). It will definitely need the "Linked effect" for +3, to be able to display the information collected by the mapping spell.

To detect the mood of a crowd (like a town): base effect 5, target group (+2) + size modifier of +2 to +5 to capture large settlement. But it will need to be cast multiple times to cover several towns/villages/city otherwise it will only return the info of the overall population.
To display the information, it probably needs a different CrIm spell (same magnitude and conditions of the previous one): The Spirit of Men as it is.

To map out Regios, it is an InVi base 3 effect, with the usual +4 for Arcane connection, +1 for Part, and +3 to +5 for the size modifier.

It is a beautiful project, very well suited for a Mercere magus.

Regarding scrying, if there is any magus or covenant in the area, detecting the mood and the Aura can be considered as Scrying. On the other hand considering that the effect won't be invested with any Penetration, Parma and Aegis will block the effect. But cautious will be needed depening when and where it is used.

One small correction:

"A spell of level 50 becomes a ritual, thus cannot be fitted into a magical item."

If high level is the ONLY reason a given spell is a ritual, that spell can indeed be placed in an item. AM5 p98.

Plus what Doctorcomics said.

Well spotted !
As long as the duration is not Year, target is not Boundary, the level of the effect can exceed 50.

As I was considering the effect, one way to reduce the level of effect is to reduce the range from Arcane to Touch: the map write the area (within the spell target size, modifier included) when it is touching the ground and the activation words are spoken. This way, the level modifier is reduced from +4 to +1 for the range parameter.

If the effect is ritual just for the lvl can be invested.
The map don't seems hermetically possible. A lot of effects and different arcane connections. Can hermetic magic sense 'the mood' of a territory? To target a group you will need to reach a part of the group. To cas a in mentem in a group you will need arcane connection of one person. To summon a spirit needs arcane con or sight and not by scry. The map as presented seems as a big big item to scry nothing.
But a map can be a good key for scry, teleport and communications. Maybe you can create some magic items like menhires (or just the map, but you must use much more vis) a rego vim effect to conduct magic from the map to the rock and from the stone to the map. Then you can place the rocks in the territory you want to map and cast the Creo imaginem with req intellego but no more magnitudes due to it, to create the image in a big parchment. This don't need to penetrate and even when can be used to scry can't be detected. Maybe you can base the map on this effect and the map recreates all days with the information of an intellego spell targeting the stones. In this case I am not sure, as I remember you don't need to penetrate in an intellego imaginem spell but no book here to consult. Anyway you will need many effects and automatic trigger every sunrise.
With a decent rego vim lab you can create many stones in 2 seasons.
The you can use touch effects to scry any stone and the environment. Other effects can be invested on the map to generate images or sounds in the rocks so it can be used to communications. Perhaps there are better options with less vis and more power but this seems 'cheap'.

HoH:Societates - page 47, the Mappa Mundi is described. The smaller version is sought by the Tremere (as a symbol of the Roman Empire), the Verditius (for shape & material bonuses unequalled by other maps) and Mercere and Jerbiton (as it may act as an Arcane Connection to places named or marked with gemstones) and some pagans.

Regarding linked CrIm effects - several times in the past when people have submitted ideas for items performing sensing magics, a display of sorts is usually counted as a "cosmetic effect" (how it gets information to the user) rather than an additional effect. Has a canon response ever been decided or this a your-saga-may-vary job?

The topic of using ACs with items keeps coming up - can anyone remember a good thread we can reference? (I'm sure someone's invented a "leap of homecoming to X" wand where the end of the wand has a hollow you put the AC into and can use it, and a saga I played in allowed this for our teleporting boat, but these may be heavily houseruled versions for continent-spanning sagas)

  1. Only spells above level 50 becomes rituals (ArM5, p. 114, 3rd bullet, 3rd column, under header "Ritual Spells")

So... technically wrong twice.

To just add ACs freely to a map is probably "easiest" to do with Ptolemaic Coordinates (Ancient Magic 90). So you want an effect based on A Comparison of the Positions of the Fixed Stars (InVi 25) to create a coordinate AC to a particular location. (You also need to make an adventure down to the Hesperides to calculate the origin point, but that's a separate kettle of fish.)