More questions about the Goetic Art of Binding

Now that this PC has been used in play a bit, I have further questions about the Goetic Art of Binding, the infernal ability from RoP:I. These are matters that, from my reading of the ability, are YSMV. So I'm interested both in if you have found RAW answers that I have overlooked, and if not, in how you have HR these matters. Please be clear if your answer is specific to the realm of the spirit in question or realm-independent.

Not so much interested in the code and such. We've discussed the story implications of Infernalism at length on other threads. My concern here is more in the practical application of the ability.

  1. Once a spirit has been bound to an individual, can the "presence" of the spirit within the individual be detected in any way, and if so, how? What information could be learned? Existence of the spirit? Realm of the spirit? Infernal nature of the binding? Name (or even true name) of the spirit?

  2. Can a bound spirit be affected in any way independently of affecting the host? Could mentum, might stripping, etc, be targeted at the spirit?

  3. Specifically, if the presence of the spirit can be detected then, short of killing the host individual, can a spirit be seperated from the host ("banished," exercised, etc?). I'm thinking both of voluntary release by the binder as well as another individual causing the release.

  4. Is there any limit to the number of spirits that a binder can have bound at any one time? If so, what is the limit?

  5. Having a spirit bound gives you 1 warping point/year. Is this infernal warping (due to binding's infernal nature) or specific to the realm of the bound spirit?

  6. If multiple spirits are bound, is it 1 warping point total or one per spirit?

  7. The binder can learn to use the bound spirits powers, but the spirit can still make use of them as well. What happens if they have a simultaneous desire to use the power? Can the spirit thwart the binder's ambitions by repeatedly using its might points up, so that none are available for the binders use?

  8. The spirit can speak into the binders mind by using might points. Is there any way for the binder to communicate with the spirit short of speaking out loud?

Thanks in advance for your RAW rules references, house rule ideas, and other suggestions..

Everything is Serfs! Not much time to write, and some of these are good questions, which I can't help with!

This is typically Leadership +1 for all versions of controlling powers I have seen.

Likely Spirit Realm since this is the source of the warping... the spirit's residence is causing the havoc. However, I would consider the infernal taint on the results as well even.

As each is a specific separate strong effect, 1 per spirit.

Pretty much all personal interpretation / serf's parma, so cherrypick what you like.

Can't see why it wouldn't be detectable, though you'd need fairly specific magics to get more than 'a magical effect' given that it isn't Hermetic. As for realm of origin... again, no problem - except for Demon's general immunity to intellego. So you'd detect Faerie/Magic/Divine, but Infernal would probably report as one of the others.

I'd guess the former: infernal regardless of the spirit. Playing with infernal power gets you in trouble. :slight_smile:

I'd guess the binder gets priority, but I can't see any reason a spirit couldn't keep its might pool drained just to be a prick. It'd certainly fit with the devil's bargain aspect of such things.

I'd allow the invention of a spell to do so, but other than that... probably no :slight_smile:

RoP:I explicitly says "...[bound spirits] essentially become part of the target, and while there they cannot be detected."
However, I would say that presence of the Binding power itself can be detected (and remember that it "registers" as Infernal even to Hermetic examination).

Hmmm, tricky question. The RAW is not explicit on this. There are two issues here. The first is that you don't want to contradict point 1 above. The second is that you probably don't want to make the spirit "immune to everything" just because it is bound (it can, after all, still freely use its powers).

I would rule it as follows. The spirit is essentially now part of the target. Might stripping and similar effects cast at the target affect the spirit. In the extremely unusual circumstance that both the target and the spirit have might ... uhm... I'd worry about this only when the situation arises :slight_smile:

Mind control cannot affect the spirit independently, because the spirit is basically part of the target's own "personality". However, for the same reason mind control that targets the target's mind is effective against the spirit+target gestalt.

Note that the spirit cannot be detected (see above). However, the binding power can (again, see above) and thus anything breaking the binding power -- which is, after all, a constant mystical effect and thus subject to dispelling -- would release the spirit.

In principle, there is no limit. However, every binding is a separate mystical effect, and thus by having lots of spirits you incur a lot of warping. In addition, the spirits' personalities become part of the target (plus the spirits retain some level of sentience) -- so binding many different spirits is a fast, fast way to insanity!

Note that according to RoP:I it's the binding, and not the presence of the spirit, that causes the warping ("[the target] gains a Warping Point every year for being under a constant supernatural effect."). So the warping should be infernal.

Different bindings are different effects; each generates 1 warping point. Thus, it's 1 warping point per spirit. As a house rule, we allow a powerful sorcerer to bind a group of weak, "compatible" spirits (e.g. a pack of spirit wolves) with a single application of the Binding power, by treating them as a single being with Might equal to the total of the individual Mights. In this case the target would get a single warping point from the whole "group". Let me repeat that this is a house rule.

Note that it's not the binder, but the target bound to the spirit (which could coincide with, or differ from, the binder) that controls the powers.

This is a specific instance of a very general question: what happens when multiple agents try to control the same magical effect -- e.g. a magical item for which both know the control words/gestures. It's best ruled on a case by case basis, depending both on the nature of the power (e.g. for an instantaneous power like breathing fire, it's probably an issue of initiative) and on the desires of the spirit and the target it's bound to (some sort of compromise between the two objectives is often the outcome).

Absolutely; and the target bound to the spirit can do the same.

The spirit perceives whatever the bound target's senses perceive. As a (probable?) house rule, we also allow the spirit to sense a strong emotional state of the target -- the pangs of love for example (this would be a house rule not on the binding itself, but on the fact that emotions are felt by any person through internal senses -- it actually may be "canon", I never bothered checking).

My vague recollections/suggestions:

No, the spirit is "hiding" within the individual and cannot be detected. The binding effect itself can be detected as normal, and would register as an Infernal effect. I would, however, strongly recommend disregarding that last part - and allowing this, and numerous other, Infernal effects to either register as being associated with another Realm or to not be detectable at all. Otherwise, diabolists become easy pray and much story potential is wasted.

I would, however, probably introduce some McGuffin to sense bound/possessing demons, however, if the players would look for a way to do so in-game. Perhaps the relics of some saint or something.

Only once it is detected in some way. When it activates its powers, it is detectable (can be affected in that round). However, it can also be affected through its True Name, even when bound. I would also allow might-stripping spells to work as normal when targeting the host, affecting the demon as well as the the host, and perhaps Mentem spells as well. Area effects likewise will affect the bound spirit (e.g. a Room-target DEO).

If there is some means to detect the spirit, i.e. target a spell, everything's possible. Otherwise - it's the same as before. A True Name would work, as would an area might-stripping or other effect. Targeting the host may work as a house rule, as above. I'd also say the caster can release the binding at will.

By RAW, no. By common sense, that Leadership + 1 sounds like a good guideline. I would apply it to all active bindings, not just to the one he is personally bound to as host, to introduce some measure of game balance.

It is Infernal, as the warping is caused by an Infernal effect.

One per spirit.

I... don't see why not. Surely the binder will have the means to control the bound spirit, however.

A spell would do it. Otherwise... I think not.

Detected: No.
Information learned: it depends on the spell used. The presence of the binding, yes. Existence of the spirit... Maybe (say, a Room mentem target to detect minds). Realm of the spirit, likewise. Infernal nature of the Binding, sure. Name of the spirit, probably not.

About the infernal nature of the binding being able to be detected: Yes (contrary to what ezzelino says, infernalist powers are detectable as such, it is demons that can appear different). And it is fine. It means an infernalist must be cautious instead of blatantly using his powers, confident they'll appear as purely magical.
I mean, if your infernalist has this awesome power and is undetectable... What's the point? I would very much advise against making them appear as non-infernal.
Note, too, that the order has a prohibition against scrying, so, anyway, this gives him some leeway, as, unless he gives one reason to, he doesn't risk a quaesitor investigating the nature of his magics.
Finally, serf's parma, there are vim spells (Serf's parma, things like "Shroud Magic") that could conceivably allow him to craft a false magical "shell" around the binding, to hide it from prying.

Yes, through an AC range spell, I'd say. Or an area of effect spell, like a Room target.

Yes, as above. DEO.

By the RAW, warping's the limit, although later publications give a limit of Leadership +1 on similar things.
This seems sensible.
Another way to do it is to allow any number of bound spirits, but to limit the ones one can control/use at once to leadership +1.


1 per spirit

I'd say, if simultaneous, use the init. If a tie, the binder wins.
And yes, the spirit can empty up his might pool, of course! :smiling_imp:

No, although he can speak out loud.

Why does everyone keep insisting that demons are generally immune to Intelligo magic?
Go back, read the Limit of the Infernal (ArM5, p. 80) and notice that that is not the case.
They are far more insidious.

Demons can lie perfectly, which allows them to control the information you recieve from Intelligo magics.
But sometimes it is to their advantage to allow you to learn the truth ("That man does indeed carry an aura of infernal sorcery!")*
In principle, they could as easily lie and claim to be Fae or even Divine.

It also requires a choice - an infernal effect not yet noticed by a demon (rare as hens teeth perhaps, but in theory) should be easily enough detected as such.
And again it might well be in the interest of the infernal to be detected as such, in which case it would be entirely too possible.

What YR7 is recommending, is nothing but RAW, mind you.
Demons are perfet liars, but the Limit is a hermetic one.

  • remembering that demons as a rule lack the virtue of patience

Indeed, this should apply to demons only. Meaning, one can detect an infernal aura. One can detect an infernally tainted person, so on and so forth. One cannot definitely detect a demon with Intellego magics. To definitively detect a demon one must used Demon's Eternal Oblivion.

Thank you everyone for your rules references, house rule ideas, and interpretations. I've put together the answers I liked best for my saga with some words of my own - yes this is plagerism but as there is no profit or public publication here I'm hoping no one is offended that I didn't credit each idea (I tried that and the doc looked ugly).

I tried to give it story flavor rather than dry rules talk whenever possible. I'm hoping that this document will clarify things and bring some harmony to my table so the troupe can get back to telling interesting stories rather than splitting hairs over vague rules.

If anyone would like to read what I hacked together and give feedback, I'll hold off on sending this to the player for another day or two.

Seems perfectly fine to me, save the part where you say that an active power from a spirit may be affected with a T: Part fast-cast spell.

Serf's parma, but, IIRC, Metamagic spells don't use T: Part, and it seems to me that this should work in the same way.
That is, if you've bound a magical spirit and it uses a Mentem power that you want to boost using Wizard's boost, the Wizard's Boost (IIRC!!!) doesn't need T: Part.

To be clear, OTOH, "The spirit can be targeted through an arcane connection to the host as well, using a part target, if the presence of the spirit is somehow known to the caster" seems totally okay to me.

Thanks. I've updated that section to make T: Part an option rather than a requirement.

The T:Part stuff came about because, at one time, the player was strenuously arguing for various advantages based on the wording that the spirit becomes part of the host. I started thinking "part is a valid target. How can I use this as a disadvantage as well as an advantage for the binder?"

Edit: re-read the metamagic rules and realized you're targeting the individual spell/power, not the individual caster, so I just took those references to target: part out.