One mind, two bodies

I was tinkering with the idea of creating a metal statue of a pegasus, and then animating it. One of the options that I came up with on how to have it behave more horse-like was to place the mind of a horse in the statue. Then I got to wondering if, and how, that was possible under Hermetic magic. I think it would be. And then I got to wondering if it would be possible to...expand on that concept.

What if a magus, or (anyone/anything, really) could have their mind placed into something that was as close to indestructible as possible? The reward for the shield grog Rory's decades of loyal service could be to become an animate stone statue of a Roman centurion.

For humans, the base would be Exchange of the Two Minds (ReMe 55, p. 152 of the main rule book), which is already a ritual. Would it be possible to switch minds with, say, a dog (Animal requisite), or place it into a statue (Terram)?

And could the process be duplicated with an animal into a statue (ReAn, with a Te requisite)?

I note now that the maximum duration of a Hermetic spell (except Creo, with vis) is Year (which, itself, must be ritual and thus uses vis as well). So this may not be possible unless you make certain assumptions.

For example, Exchange of the Two Minds says that you must make a Stamina stress roll (made before the switch is made) to survive the exchange. However, it doesn't say what would happen if one of the bodies dies before the spell expires. Does the mind, at the moment of death, return to its true body? Or do the minds stay where they are, and the mind is "trapped" forever in its new body? (Which is not necessarily a bad thing, as the spell description mentions that older magi place their minds into younger and healthier bodies, and thus the magi could be forgiven for wanting to make the transfer permanent.)

So, basically, my question is two-fold:

  • Can the mind be "switched" with something that's mindless? This would, presumably, either kill the human (or animal) host or put him in a vegetative state until the spell expires?
  • What happens to the mind if one or the other of the bodies dies before the spell expires?

I suggest looking at the MuMe spell in ArM5 that turns the mind into a bird. That will give you some answers. You might also look at the necromancer in HP to get an idea of how to hand off an animating spell's control to another, which would probably be needed from what you say.


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Hmm...that seems to indicate that the mind draws its "sustenance" (for lack of a better word) from the original body. However, I'm not sure if that would be due to the mind being temporarily manifest outside of its body and has no means of support other than its original body, or because the mind is still tied to its original body even after being switched.

No puedo. Don't have Hermetic Projects, and it's not on my priority list (so, I won't be getting it until I get a full-time job, which may be a while, since I've been looking off-and-on for a long time).

I'm kind-of looking at a similar concept. Kind-of.

The main issues are:

  • Inanimate objects can't move. So when the mind of the dog is now in the statue, the statue still has no motive power.
  • Inanimate objects can't sense. So when the mind of the grog is in the plastic statue (it is Rory, after all) he has no way of perceiving the world.

The first issue can be overcome with magic, but this doesn't solve the second. The second is the doozy - InIm spells of Target: Room will work to a degree, but you have the issue of not being able to see beyond the room.

Medieval senses being what they are , you can't just set up a passive receiver and be done with it. You need a way of creating species directly /and/ interpreting those into something the mind can process. Without eyes, ears, etc. this is ... tricky.

Necromancy (though not from Hermetic Projects) does offer a potential solution: corpses have sense organs, and if they aren't too decayed you might be able to hijack those with an InCo(Im) or InAn(Im) effect.

The metal pegasus is an enchanted item, with a ReTe effect to animate it. I'm assuming that anyone who puts anyone in a statue would do the same. Otherwise...shrug

Or, enchant the statues eyes and ears with the appropriate InIm? Or give it a base 5 ("Use all senses at a distance") InIm, with R: Personal, D: Sun (to match the ReTe effect that animates the statue), T: Individual, maybe?

Something else to think about...I had assumed that part & parcel of animating the statue would be it being able to see, hear, feel, etc. hunh.

The statue is an invested device, with a ReMe effect to trap a spirit in it, an InMe effect to read its surface thoughts, and a ReTe effect with a linked trigger to the InMe effect to direct the statues' movement. Arguably InIm to let the statue see, but arguably not too - the spirit/ghost can see just fine.

Of course, there is a minor theological problem here - the spirit/ghost is denied its eternal afterlife, so basically the statue is a sacrilege and an affront to god, and if the pool guard volunteered to it he essentially committed suicide and will go straight to hell; as would the magus who fashioned the infernal device, to be sure.

The ReMe effect may, or may not, require a Ritual. If it does, then this device is beyond Hermetic magic. Although I can see some Infernal NPCs that would be only too willing to provide a round-about around this petty flaw in Hermetic theory.

Looking at existing InIm effects, the Target is either the area to be sensed or the sense being substituted. The former only really works with a size greater than individual (otherwise you'd sense only the target itself), and the latter may also requires a sense to override. The line in RAW on this is:

It would be an easy argue to say that a statue has no senses to receive information through, and thus this would do nothing. This is very much a YSMV scenario.

So it remains tricky. Not impossible, but certainly not a slam-dunk either.

If you are putting a spirit into the device (which is the Hermetic Projects version) to get around the whole remote sense issue, the problems here are nicely outlined in that book. The main one being that the spirit of your beloved shield grog might not be all you expected it to. The fate of the immortal soul remains an unknown (but it has a high liklihood of not being pretty) and you've no real way of knowing whether you did get the ghost you want or a demon that's playing you for a fool. Using the exact same table for Shadow of Human Life would be a good starting point.

It's definitely straying into risky territory when you start ritually murdering your grogs to have their spirits power your infern... er .. invested devices.

You have sense target.
InIm with T: Vision, for exemple.
Problem is, there require to penetrate. But this would be good for most things.
IIRC, this was done in Hermetic Projects... Yes! p41, the stone watchman

Good find!

This, like one of those annoying Russian dolls, leads to the next issue - you may need to enchant multiple effects for each sense, or you may be able to include additional senses for increases in Target magnitude beyond vision. I'd certainly say swordplay is challenging without a sense of touch or hearing!

Anyway, all this is hugely YSMV. If you think the idea is cool and want it in your saga and your troupe are happy with it, having senses come bundled in with the control effect (maybe just an In requisite) might be enough. I'd be more of a stickler than that in my saga, and as a player I'd assume my SG would also be more of a stickler. Being able to have an avatar is a very potent thing, and as such probably shouldn't be an easy road to achieve.

You can also "cheat" by using Heron's Mechanica (Ancient magic). That create animated statues which solve some of the issues you'd have here.

Another method to give a statue senses which I thought up a fair while ago is with a Muto Terram (Corpus) spell. Muto magic works by giving the target properties that it does not naturally possess and you can do things such as turn trees into people, people can see whilst trees cannot ergo you can use a simpler version of a statue to person spell (MuTe(Co) and instead of giving the statue all the properties of a person you can only give it a few, such as being able to see and hear and such. A good thing about this kind of spell is it can also grant the ability to heal to the target as that is also a property that humans have and thus can be granted with this Muto spell.

Here's a spell I designed with this idea awhile ago, it was made to be used with an Awakened Device from Anicent Magic. I had this idea because I wanted the Glass Maidens to be quite human but also visibly made of glass, the enchantments to give them just the necessary effects were getting a bit too numerous and just straight up turning them into humans was lame but I had the epiphany of remembering how Muto magic works and I'm pretty damn sure it'd work, well as long as the target has something close to eyes and a mouth already which a glass statue would have.

The Impression of Flesh
Level 39
R: Personal D: Sun T: Individual

Give the Glass Maiden many properties that humans possess, such as sight, taste, hearing, smell,
touch, motion of the limbs and locomotion, the ability to heal damage with enough rest and the ability
to speak. It also make the Glass Maiden warm and soft to the touch, this prevents shattering as the
Glass Maiden doesn't possess that property is the same way now. It also changes the Glass Maidens hair
to be soft and flowing and made of many individual strands, allowing the Glass Maiden to style their hair.
For a Glass Maiden to heal she must be provided with clear glass to eat to provide the materials needed

(Base Magnitude, +2 Sun, +1 Complicated Effect)
(Base Level 20, +1 2 uses, +3 Environmental Trigger)

(This is the original notes I had for the spell and I added this in at the last second so I might repeat some stuff.)

This effect is much better as it keeps the style of the Glass Maiden (or any other awakened device) but
allows them to have all the advantages of The Form of Flesh*. This works because of the way Muto magic
functions, to grants properties to the target it cannot naturally possess. The Form of Flesh uses this
by giving glass every single propety that a human has, this one works by giving glass alot of the
properties that a human has, this is clearly a lesser effect hence the lower base level but it does do
quite alot for one spell hence the +1 Complicated Effect modifier.

This effect is unlikely to work on something that is not human shaped already, alternative effects would
need to be designed for other shapes although they would not support speech**.

Another thing to note is that since the healing is based on that of humans the Glass Maiden will bleed
when injured, the blood is not visible when there is no wound but will appear from any wound that is made.

(*The Form of Flesh is the spell I had designed immediately prior to this one, it just straight up turns a glass statue into a human using the guidelines for turning a human into a glass statue. Very lame spell.)
(**Depending on the shape, most animals cannot speak however so this a fairly safe assumption.)

So the eating glass bit, I mostly got that from an Animae magic spell which turns a fire into a human which needs to eat wood to keep going so this might not be really necessary for this case but it's cool so I put it in and also add an extra cost to having immortal servants with intelligence that can learn.

Oh also they're glass cuz I wanted them to be real easy to make as their purpose is to serve as immortal teachers not to do anything magical or fight stuff, they could serve as alternatives to libraries, very cool.

This hasn't been used in a game before, this was mostly a thought experiment I had awhile ago.