Partial Group Targets

Is there an official ruling for being unable to target the entirety of a group? (For example, in a street brawl with 50 people, and only being able to target 20 of them with your group control spell). I did a few PDF searches but couldn't find anything.

I can see a few logical responses:

  1. You fail to cast the spell, as if you were trying to target a giant with a +0 size spell.
  2. You target as much of the group as you can, with random targets (ie, you hit 20 of the 50 people at random)
  3. You choose a single individual, and target them and everyone nearest them until you run out of 'size'.
  4. You get to choose who gets targeted amid the group.

(Also, I don't like 4 because of a number of reasons, but I'm including it for thoroughness)

I'd say option 1. If you try to target a group of 50 people, but your spell doesn't have enough Size modifers to affect that many people, the spell will just fail. As you note, this would work exactly the same as when targeting an Individual without enough Size modifiers.

For the other options, I don't see any indications that it is possible to affect just part of a Group that you target - not unless that part by itself qualifies as a separate Group, in which case you could target that Group instead.

I kind of agree, but I remember that groups need to be rather distinct by position, so it could be hard to have sub-groups within a group.

The definition of group target is sufficiently vague that I don't see why you couldn't just target the women, men, children, people wearing people hats, ... They each constitute a group (defined by a set of attributes) and can be targeted. Their position is only relevant in terms of range and whether other members of the class that defines the group are separating the group, not constitution. It is reasonable to me that a maga with non zero MT would be well aware of what the limits of the target are and I'd let the player define their group (potentially at spell creation not spell Casting time) as long as it is not the union of individual unique identifiers.

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Don't forget that Part can be included in Group for free when designing a spell. Since it is free, not including it in a Group spell is intentionally including a reduction in power.

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It can?
And even if it can, would it not be for targeting part of each member of the group? So only included if it is needed for the spell.

Sounds like it might be a use for those non-Mystery Numerology Intellego spells that count and categorize things?

My reading of that is you can target, say, the left arm of all the individuals in the group, not part of the group.

Not quite. Don't forget that the group is defined by the limits of the form. So while a Corpus spell that targets a group of males is possible, a Corpus spell that targets a group of people wearing hats is not.

Even then, there is some margin for opposing thoughts. For example, I devise a group PeCo spell to cause a disease in a group men (specifically male humans). I meet a group with 5 men and 5 women. Is this group eligible for the spell, since it's not "a group of male humans"?

If I have them disposed in a line as such, can I consider them as one group of Corpus individuals comprised of two groups, one of males and one of females (I'd argue yes)?

What if they are as such, can I consider them two mingled groups and single out the males with my spell (I don't think the answer is as clear cut anymore)?

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But to directly answer raccon's question:

Group/Room: Group: The spell can affect a group of people or things. The components of the group must be close together in space, and the group itself must be separated from any other things of the same type. Three grogs huddled together or a ring of standing stones are a group: six people out of a crowd are usually not.

To me this seem like a very clear ruling that no, you can't target part of a group.

That's why it's sometimes more useful to have the multiple casting mastery instead of inventing a group version of certain spells.


No, actually, this solution is incorrect. ErikT really had it correct on targeting part of a Group:

You can definitely target a part of a Group under most circumstances:

It is possible to target a “Group” with a single member

A single thing is properly identifiable as separate from others. So, for example, you could use a Group spell to hit a single person in a crowd of 100 because the single person counts as a Group and is clearly distinct from each other single person. (This might not be so easily distinguished from each other at times, such as individual currents in a river.)

You might also, for example, have a situation like a tavern with 20 people inside and target all of them together or just the several of them in the corner at a table together, separated from the other 16.

It's exactly what ErikT said; I'm just pointing out that what he said almost always applies. As long as the smaller part of the Group properly qualifies as a Group itself, then you can use Group on that part of the bigger Group. As an individual counts as a Group on its own, this is nearly always possible. You cannot just choose some arbitrary part of the Group, though.

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Yes, but just the women, mixed into the larger group rather than in one corner of it would not count as a group. I don't think anyone was saying a that a valid but nested group could not be targeted.

The solution isn't incorrect. It addresses the point of you being able to target part of a group or not. It also provides exactly what raccon was looking for: a clear indication in the rules. It says nothing about targeting subgroups within a group.

Also, I'll disagree with "a single thing is properly identifiable as separate from others". Yes, if we are talking about group theory in algebra. No if we are talking about hermetic magic (or else, nothing would stop a magus from targeting six people out of a crowd).

Six standing stones are absolutely not the same thing as six groups of one standing stone each, not unless you start to add qualifiers (eg, each stone is made from a different material). And even then, once every individual is different but they are (reasonably) mixed, we are back into a grey area, because it's not clear, by the rules, if a certain combination of elements can be recognized as a group or not, it falls into storyguide fiat.

Really? So what do you find wrong about the example of 4 people around a table in the corner of the room that has 16 other people not right around them? You said "To me this seem like a very clear ruling that no, you can't target part of a group." Could you not target the whole room of people with Group? Could you not target the table of people with Group? If so, then you're targeting part of a Group and the statement is incorrect.

You're confounding things here. If you've got six people among a crowd, then those six are not "separated from any other things of the same type" as they're roughly as close to each other as any others. They're intermingled. But a single person is significantly closer to themselves than to any other person. And a single person is most definitely separate from another single person, no? Perhaps not if one has a body part inside the other, but generally. And we know for sure that an individual is a valid target for Group.

The discussion is about targeting part of a group, not groups within a group (which is actually provisioned when saying you can’t usually target six people out of a crowd).

It is possible to target a “Group” with a single member" is not the same as "it is possible to target a single member within a group".

As you recognize, this hinges on an individual being a valid subgroup. It's not self evident, despite what you say, that an individual is always in a group of one by virtue of being isolated from anything that isn’t himself. This is a mathematical approach to the problem.

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But a Group within a larger Group is a part of that larger Group. As I was saying, if you have a valid Group within a Group, then you can target that part of the larger Group. This is contrary to your statement "a very clear ruling that no, you can't target part of a group." It sounds like you're now agreeing with me while trying to disagree with me?

My claim: You can target a smaller part of a Group as long as that smaller part itself constitutes a valid Group.
Your written statement: You cannot target a smaller part of a Group no matter what.

Which is correct?

You know mathematics is just formal logic. So you're saying the problem is that I'm reading the rules logically? Meanwhile you offer no evidence to the contrary, only warping what I've said to disagree with what I've said? I didn't even suggest "always in a group of one" for a reason. I've already suggested that if body parts are inside each other that that would become a problem for the separation rule. There may be other cases as well.

Oh dear. This is not a topic for an RPG forum - but take at least a first look at the last century's research to find a foundation of mathematics.

Going in depth from there you find, that a statement like "mathematics is just formal logic" is philosophically unsound. But

In practice, most mathematicians either do not work from axiomatic systems, or if they do, do not doubt the consistency of ZFC, generally their preferred axiomatic system. In most of mathematics as it is practiced, the incompleteness and paradoxes of the underlying formal theories never played a role anyway, and in those branches in which they do or whose formalization attempts would run the risk of forming inconsistent theories (such as logic and category theory), they may be treated carefully.

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No, me quoting the rules (which don't actually invalidate you being able to target groups within a group, since you can, after all... target groups).

As always, our disagreement is on basis of language, semantics, logic, causality... Usually I'm not against this kind of discussion, but here and now I don't really have the spirit to nitpick on words. Have a nice day.