Perceiving Heartbeasts

I have a player of a Bjornaer wanting to develop a spell to see the Heartbeast of another person, with the aim of finding an apprentice of the same Heartbeast as himself. My initial reaction was "Heartbeasts are part of a person's essential nature and can't be detected by Hermetic magic" but on reflection it is not explicitly stated anywhere (that I can find) that this would be the case.

I would guess the basis for such a spell, assuming that it is able to work, would be an InCo(An)20 - base 5, +1 mag Touch, An req free but I'd make it ritual just to stop it being cast at will, thus bumping up the level to 20. I may even consider throwing in a Vi requisite as well since there is a mystical element to this.

Thought fellow SGs?

Serf's Parma: I'm pretty certain that HoH:MC talks about how the Heartbeat Initiation is when the nature of the Heartbeast is discovered, and that it is not possible to tell (definitively) what it is until it manifests. Hence, there are indeed sometimes problems when an apprentice ends up with what the master considers the Wrong Heartbeast.

I'd be happier with a spell that identified the dominate humour of the person (and therefore likely the humour of their Heartbeast). So, lets you know the probable sort of Heartbeast even though not the exact animal. I don't see a reason to make it ritual.

Richard here pretty much ninja'd me (I was just typing that up), so yes, Heartbeast is only determined at Initiation. That being said InCo 5 will give you a "specific piece of information", and that should be enough for dominant humour.

I wouldn't make it a ritual myself, as it's a bit over-pricey to pay 4 pawns for every potential person you find (read: every Gifted child). Instead, I would revolve around the story about finding said apprentice, replacing the resource cost with a time cost, but that's just more my style of doing things.

I certainly prefer the dominant humours option; as I said in the original post my initial reaction was "no". At least this way I can say "not exactly but..." And provide an outline for an InCo(An) 10 incantation for my player. It also adds a layer of mystery into what is, after all, a mystery cult.

Thanks for the input, much appreciated.

Note that House Bjornaer is pretty fluid as to who is the 'master' of an apprentice. If the 'wrong' heartbeast shows up for a magus, pawning him off on somebody else in the house is pretty normal and expected. The counterpoint to that is it's entirely possibly somebody drops by the covenant and just leaves an apprentice for your player to train who has the 'right' heartbeast or temperament.



or at least perceive the dominant humor at the time the spell is cast

There is presumably(?) an underlying humour for a person, as well as the transitory one due to their current condition. But, yes, this would be a problem, and might go someway to explaining why the animal turns out "wrong", even if you thought you knew the humour of the person.

Hmm. Yeah, on the one hand, the fluff describes people as choleric, melancholic, etc, but on the other hand, it talks about the need for balanced humors. Maybe two spells are needed, one to detect the state of humors and the other to detect health? Dunno. When in doubt, add a magnitude. :slight_smile: But I prefer the Heartbeast to be... mysterious. And I wouldn't at all mind if sometimes a character emerged from initiation into the outer mystery with a sudden change in personality, as the inner self comes to the surface.

I'd assume that while a person's humours can fluctuate, they'd have a baseline that isn't the same as everyone else. A weighting off perfect balance.

Detecting that might require a more potent spell than one that just detects current humour balance. Probably not much more potent (InCo 10 or 15), but probably enough that you'd want to actually invent the spell rather than just popping it off spontaneously.

Correct. Everyone has their personal temperament or complexion, which has a primary humour and possibly secondary or even tertiary accents. This is what defines their base personality. A person with no dominant humour is considered to be the ideal; but that virtually never happens. A physician must take into account dominant humours when designing a regimen or cure: it would be a bad thing to prescribe a diet of venison and red wine to someone with a choleric disposition, since this could easily result in a plethora of quantity. There are no 'off the shelf' all-purpose medicines in Mythic Europe, and this is why apothecaries are often forbidden from prescribing pharmaceuticals -- they lack the academic training to safely calculate which medicines will work with which patient. This is gone into in more detail in Art & Academe.

The upshot is that spell is possible to read a dominant humour. In theory, this would be an InCo spell of relatively low level, but as described under Complexional Magic in A&A, this breakthrough has not yet been made. Instead, magi must rely on Mentem, which is less efficient. Sensing all the emotions of a person (Guideline level 10) could be enough to gauge personality traits, but could be clouded by the current humoural turmoil of the target since emotions and personality traits are not the same thing. Emotions are 'non-naturals' (external to the body), whereas personality is a product of complexion, and thus a 'natural'.

I would probably ask the potential master to cast the spell to sense all emotions several times over a period of time; which should allow him to derive complexion from the common elements between castings. I'd probably make that into a story or part of a story, if it was important to know. However, I wouldn't make it so difficult if it wasn't important.