Permanent Control / Enchantment

So, my character over in Andorra worries very much about the state of her home, and wants to strengthen the covenant against future agressions.

She has learned to create Earth Elementals, and would like to setup some as "eternal guards", with an enchanted item allowing covenant members to control them.

She runs into several problems, though.

If she uses D: Conc and Maintains Concentration, the enchantment will "flicker" at each sunrise/sunset, which may cause problems if one elemental swings at someone. Arguably, if the target elementals aren't in range, the enchantment won't pickup afterwards, meaning you'd have to get all of them in range twice per day.
She doesn't want that, so she'd like to settle for a Constant enchantment.
Problem is, if she sets up a Constant ReTe effect on an elemental and it is destroyed (And she figures that, at one point of another, all will be), the enchantment becomes worthless. I talked about this with the troupe, and we agreed that giving more uses per day would allow a new elemental to "take the place" of an old target (But not to add targets, of course: You need a "slot" to open up).

So, she'd settle for a Constant enchantment, with Target: Group, which would allow her item to control up to 10 guardians... But it seems (based on Hermetic Projects p116, control the dead turb) that individual commands cannot be given to group members... So she'd have to create 10 different items...

So: anyone sees a way for her to create an item, or combination of effects, that:

  • Allows her to control several elementals differently
  • Avoid the "flicker" problem
  • Can "pickup" new elementals if an old one is destroyed?

The flicker problem can be solved by D:Sun, 2 uses per day, and environmental trigger of sunrise/sunset. I think callen even has a quote from David that this does not flicker.

I'm not sure that independent control by Group spells is solvable, unless you use some handwavium and add some increases of magnitude due to complexity...

The flicker effects is avoided with Duration of Sun + Environmental trigger (Sunrise/Sunset) and 2 uses/day. It is cannon (p99, sidebar). So +2 magnitude for increasing the duration from Inst to Sun, +4 levels for Env. trigger (+3) and 2 uses/day (+1).

Now, if you bump the uses/level to unlimited, I know you can cast it an unlimited amount of time, so does it means that you can permanently control an unlimited number of Guardian ? I would find it a bit broken, but that's beside the point if the rules allow it.

Yes, this avoids the flicker issue. However, it still runs into the constant enchantment problem. Using that method the effect goes off once in the beginning and then lasts forever. So one elemental is controlled forever. But if that elemental is destroyed, the enchantment is worthless, as state in the OP.

There is an alternative: D: Moon with an environmental trigger. Sure, you'll end up with overlapping effects, but they do the same thing so that shouldn't be too bad.

Use the training rules found in RoP: Magic pg81 to tame the elementals, provided your storyguide allows this (they have animal level minds, Cunning). This should be allowed, as one of the examples listed includes a fire elemental. Then you can transfer the Loyalty of the creatures, or use high Presence servants with Magic Lore to command them around.

What about using the Control Spirit power in the box on page 44 of The Lion & the Lily as a guideline?

Also, could you not have a Duration : Concentration effect with both Item Maintains Concentration and Enviromental Trigger modifiers, so it renews itself at sunrise/sunset and not "flicker"?

I think that still leaves a flicker.

My personal favorite involves me casting Command the Living Earth ReTe-20, RoP: M, p. 133, equivalent.
The leaves me undisputably in control of the entity. No debate about what it means when the item technically controls the Elemental, etc.

Then I activate a device with a ReVi, 2 activations/day, enviromental trigger, no flicker, effect that maintains my ReTe spell of control.

Though in that case the maintained spell could be ended via a non-ritual spell, making the constant maintaining effect useless. So that is just vulnerable in a different way.

This is correct.

Why? It's not designed to control that specific instance of that specific ReTe spell.
Indeed I have usually designed it with 3 activations per day, such that
Dawn: No valid target. Activation may (or may not) be wasted)
During day: I cast a relevant ReTe spell. Then activate my device, to take over maintanance.
Dusk: A valid target exists, Activation is not wasted.

True, but in my experience less so.

If a device casts an affect, controlling the Elemental, it opens up a messy can of debates about what that even means. Remember, you are no longer the caster, the device is.
And that instance of the effect can still be dispelled with non-Ritual PeVi - the device remains intact, sure, but may well have been rendered irrelevant, eg by loss of target.

Because this is how Hermetic Constant effects work. They trigger at the first dawn/dusk after being finished and never trigger again. If you instead go for D: Concentration, then you're back to the flickering that will drop the maintained spell.

This is not to say what you want can't be done. Here is a way, the easiest I could do:
ReVi at D: Moon to maintain a spell (if it's not your talisman or if the ReTe effect isn't from the item, this gets much harder; you probably want lots of uses, too)
InVi with Environmental Trigger to count spells it is maintaining (you'll want some duration for multiple effects)
ReVi with Linked Trigger to InVi effect so it activates the ReVi effect on each spell maintained

But this was my plan for a necromancer with hundreds of maintained spells. You're probably just better off making ReTe at D: Moon or ReVi at D: Moon as a spell.

Minor point: technically, I think that they should trigger again if they happen to find themselves not operating at a dawn/dusk.

Which could rarely happen if subject to some sorts of magic suppression effect or similar.

I've never read anything like that.

These items trigger every dawn and dusk (and of course, they can be built to trigger at other times too, on command, in which case they won't then trigger at dawn/dusk if they've exhausted their daily uses). It's just that they trigger at the very time the previous D:Sun effect expires, so the "extra duration" is added "seamlessly" so to speak -- there's no "flicker". If the items are somehow prevented from working one particular dawn or dusk -- e.g. because there's no valid target within range, or because the environmental trigger is combined with some normal trigger like "needs to be touching the ground" and that trigger is not active -- they trigger again as soon as the trigger conditions are met (assuming the item has enough uses/day left).

In the case of elemental control, if a guardian is destroyed, the item becomes capable of controlling another at any time after the next dawn or dusk.

Suppressing isn't ending, and ending the effect is via disenchanting it.

Certainly, the RAW example of suppressing a spell doesn't end an effect. However, I don't see anything wrong with a similar ReVi effect (built on the same guideline) that "supresses an on-going item effect" by switching it off.

I would warn you away from that for two reasons. First, you'd be letting ReVi do a PeVi effect, unless the switching off is a built-in feature of the item in which case that ReVi guideline already exists but would not apply here. Second, even if you deal with the Rego/Perdo issue, that means you could turn off a familiar bond or a talisman bond with ease; those are supposed to require rituals.

Hard to see why manipulating an item can't be a [strike]PeVi[/strike]ReVi effect.

I don't think that entirely follows. A familiar bond isn't an item. So, no reason to suppose that something which affects an item will affect a familiar bond.

As far as affecting a talisman bond: I suppose that can be construed to be an item effect. However, I can't see any great problem with being able to use ReVi to manipulate effects within a talisman bond. You would still need to penetrate and you would still need rituals to add effects to the talisman bond.

You can already "easily" destroy a talisman (and the bond) with either PeVi (Disenchant) or PeFo (to physically break the physical manifestation). A grog with an axe can often sever a talisman bond too.

I don't understand why an item would be useless if the elemental "goes away" for whatever reason. While the spell is indeed "constant", i.e. no flicker, by the very definition of environmental trigger, it is cast whenever the triggering condition is met. If the first elemental is destroyed, slap the item on another elemental and when the trigger is met, the controlling spell will be cast again (by the environmental trigger).

This sounds, perhaps, like an old debate I was not party to, but claiming the item cannot ever be used by another target because the item never "casts" the spell again flies against the very logic of what an environmental trigger is, i.e. a way to make casting the spell multiple times "seamless" so it appears to be constant.

If it casts once, then why does constant effect require two uses per day?!?

Think of that whole Environmental Trigger + D: Sun + 2/day as an equivalent cost instead if you prefer. The canon interpretation is that it triggers on the first sunrise/sunset once it's finished and runs eternally from then on.

The "other effect" there is a constant effect done via the normal rules. I had been asking how a 1/day MuVi effect could work on the constant effect, thinking the linked MuVi effect should be 2/day.

Yes. "Environmental Trigger + D: Sun + 2/day" is just how the player calculates the correct cost for a constant effect --- it is not literally what the device is doing in-character.

But that doesn't say it's a constant effect for one and only one target once.