[New Duration]: Seal

A magus in our saga wants to research (as a minor breakthrough) a new Duration: Seal.

D: Seal can be used only with spells that affect something within a container of any sort -- from a tiny box to a vast set of underground tunnels -- with the property that it can be completely closed and held fast with a lock, lid or seal of some kind (think of the djinni in the bottle, or of pandora's vase). The spell lasts until the container is opened. Seal is the equivalent of Ring.


Can work. Sounds like a charged item to me, though. A duration ring works perfectly fine if you have circular holes in the bottle as well. Un-corking the bottle counts as breaking the circle. Easy


Well, to me it looks like a version of the Faerie duration "Until".

Actually, it is meant as a variation on Ring -- instead of lasting until the Ring is broken, it lasts until the container is opened. It allows a bit more latitude in the choice of containers (one can seal a door, a chest etc.), but is also more restricted in terms of where you place it (you can't just draw a circle on the ground where convenient). Thus, it is far less flexible than the Faerie "Until" duration.

I think this is great, particularly as a Breakthrough. I'd even be tempted to allow it as part of normal formulaic spell design (perhaps at +1 from Ring in that case).

Love the concept - surprised it isn't anywhere the current books.

The Until (Condition) Duration is +4 because it's so flexible (and powerful in other ways - it can't be dispelled normally, etc.) Often (ysmv) breakthrus are not exactly the equiv of "where they should be" - they are new, and it might take two breakthrus to get them to where they are truly useful. (This is often a SG ploy to keep the character busy and lower-powered, and so varies widely.)

But whether it's +1 or +3 or whatever is ultimately a judgement call. However, a "seal" is a formal thing - not just a lock or clasp. A Ring (+2) is powerful in part b/c it's hard to produce and maintain - the seal should be at least as complex, not just shutting a door or throwing a cheap lock on something or tying a string around a bag and calling it "sealed". It's a wax or lead or clay "seal", the actual, formal thing that determines if something has been formally "opened" or not. Perhaps stamped w/ the sigil of the magus, or some other arcane symbol. (The best seals always have such.)

You also have to determine what happens if the seal is bypassed but not itself "broken" - your mage puts a "seal" on the lid of a wooden chest, and then removes the bottom of the chest - does that break the "seal"? (It should - otherwise the door for abuse is thrown wide open. The rationale is that "the seal is mystically broken when the container is opened, no matter how it is opened.") Teleporting things in/out/past the seal should(?) be legit (unless the seal itself is designed to prevent same).

Also make it clear that the Seal is not a "triggering" effect - it's not a substitute for Watching Ward. (However, clever magi could create traps that use that effect - when the spell ends, all hell breaks loose.)

Overall, I think it's slightly more powerful. The ability to "Seal" (almost) anything, anywhere, is more flexible than looking for an area to draw a Ring.

I'd go no lower than +2, and consider +3 because, more than "ring", it does have the potential for being more powerful.

I like it. I'll add my voice in support of it as presented - a Minor Breakthrough equivalent to Ring - but would add that one of the restrictions of Ring is that the area it encircles must be rather small, as Concentration is needed to draw it. The size of the container should likewise be limited, perhaps to a Boundary (and perhaps size modifiers can increase it?).

I totally agree with the fact that if the container is breached, the spell ends, even if "seal" is intact (in fact, that's the original wording).

I like the idea that the seal must look "formal" and "impressive"; I'm not sure how to make it more explicit though.

I think that large sealed containers have the same problem as large Rings: they are hard to create and maintain.

Finally, keep in mind that D:Ring has a natural "match" in T:Circle -- basically, once you accept a Ring duration, you can affect much more than one Individual for the same magnitude as affecting one Individual (with a handful of exceptions such as Creo spells). D:Seal has no such complement -- though I think that a second breakthrough could be a T:Container...

I was lating work in that concept, with Target Container and D: Seal, both on a Minor Hermetic Virtue: Salomonic Secret or something like that, and i would begin since the Elementalista Magic.

Very much like this idea.

Target container could do with some thought but how about this for a starting point

Adds +1 magnitude.

Affects a container up to the size of a coffin. The spells effects affect everything in the container.
Size modifiers could be used to knock it up to larger containers but at some point a large container just becomes a room.

As a SG (or a Troupe member with a mind for "game balance"), the first thing I try to do is take things to their logical extreme. At what point does the new rule break (or break something else), if at all, and what is that point, and is that acceptable in this Saga?

If you're talking about T:Container as separate from D:Seal, then no way. This would circumvent too many T:Group effects. A "(minor) breakthrough" should be a small improvement or a different but "equivalent" angle that allows one to do something different - not knock magnitudes off spells across the board. (If used solely as a conjunct to D:Seal, then possibly, yes.)

I had an immediate kneejerk against +1 for Duration:Seal, but I was starting to think - how could it be abused?

Well, one would be if the Duration could be attached to something other than the "container" or "contents" - so that has to be made clear.

Now, if the "contents" of the seal cannot be accessed (which would break the seal), then D:Seal seems only good for:

  1. Preserving the contents (food, texts, prisoners, etc)
  2. Experimenting on the contents (warping, torturing, random experiments)
  3. Threatening the contents (if opened, the contents lose X effect which keeps them preserved/alive/useful/valuable*

(* Think of a magical "cryptex", sim to the box in The daVinci Code - if opened, the vinegar/spell comes out and all is lost*.)
Does this invite a password/action/trigger to bypass a Seal?" or does that want to be a different thing?)

(And would that be it?)

If so, while all those are nifty, I'm not sure "game balance" calls for a +2 or not.

However, one aspect of a Seal (or an additional seal, parallel to others - if that's allowed, more than one "seal" per "entry"?) could prevent that seal from being broken - or attempt to. Ward vs. corpus, whatever. This would approximate a "Permanent" effect much closer than any Duration:Ring arguments - and so we lean back to +2 (or even +3?).

Also, note that we already established that the concents can be accessed - one could Seal a room, and that bypassing the Seal w/ teleportation would not break the seal. So a room where one accesses the contents w/out removing them (a lab, for instance) could be "sealed" with an effect and never need to be "opened". Part* of a Covenant's Arcane Library could benefit from any number of such "permanent" effects, and from preservation/protection effects while not being used, if the contents also can be teleported in/out, begins to make this Duration far more powerful than at first glance.

(* Lab Texts want to be taken back to a Lab to aid in inventing spells/etc, but Arts/Summae can all be studied in situ., etc.)

I'm up on the idea of Djinn bottles and the like but I'm not sure I want the ability to create quasi enchanted objects by simple spells. Maybe if they were rituals. Otherwise, these sorts of items can easily be created with the rules for enchantments.

Ring is indefinite to be sure, but can't be used to create moving effects. Faerie Magic "Until" certainly can simulate this effect but that's with an exotic form of wizardry that's apt to behave weirdly in my games.

A room pretty much is a container already.
There's no lower limit for how big the room would have to be, it must (simply?) be enclosed and have definate boundaries.

I see no reason why you couldn't use T: Room to affect eg the contents of a chest.

I said that the Target or Duration could need Size, based directly on the size of the container and/or the objective of the spell.
And another point, could be very different Sealed to a contained Duration. I mean, the last should higher to make it contain a efffect until the released (+3), and another the sealed, could be just +2, but limited to things that could be contained, that means Terram, Corpus, Animal, Auram, Herbam, Aquam, Ignem and maybe Vim only to supernatural beings.

Actually in the RAW there is nothing against moving rings. A circle ring spell to strengthen a round shield against metal would be perfectly kosher. Or a ring on top of a torch that generates an eternal flame. IMS circle rings are used to create wards and to create household items. It works perfectly fine.


I agree, it seems to be just a specific application of "Until". The spell lasts Until the seal is broken.

Although, there is nothing wrong with a magus re-inventing this as "new" Duration for magi without access to Faerie magic.