Persistence of Containers

The description is ambiguous.
It can be read as only allowing type 1 spells or only allowing type 2 spells .
I had for a long time read it as allowing only type 2 spells, which resolves the issue (the spell does not necessarily end when a target leaves, but stops affecting that target at least until he returns into the Circle).

I think there may be some lack of clarity when using duration:ring without target:circle. For example could I use a target arcane connection with duration:ring and place the arcane connection inside the ring, such that the spell would last until the arcane connection was removed from teh ring (or the ring was broken) but this is getting away from container spells...

Arcane Connection is a range, not a target.

I believe he meant something along the lines of a R/T/D of AC/I/R. This sort of spell would continue until the ring was broken or the AC was removed. It is not a container spell however and if we wish to discuss i further should move to a new thread.

No, because the target is outside the circle, and Ring duration spells end when that happens.

Which is part of my point- what happens with a ring duration and a non circle target is unclear, it seems like ring duration doesn't make sense aside from a circle target or at least doesn't seem to have been given consideration in any other context, and now overlaps with the type two container definition.

I believe reiterating the specifics of Type 1 and Type 2 spells within your revised text will help clarify it further. I'm sure I'm not the only member of the boards who didn't write it down or bookmark it, but the rest may all be lurkers so I'm asking for them as well.

Here's the current clarification on Container Targets, in its entirety.

Container Targets

Spells with "container" Targets, including Circle, Room, Structure, and Boundary, can work in one of two ways.

First, they can affect any valid target within the Target container at the time of casting, and continue to affect those targets even if they leave the original Target area, for as long as the spell lasts. It does not affect anything that enters the Target container later, even if the spell is still in effect.

Second, they can affect any valid target within the Target container during the spell's period of effect. In this case, a valid target that leaves the container ceases to be affected by the spell, and a valid target that enters (or re-enters) the container is affected, until it leaves or the spell expires.

The way that a particular spell works is fixed when it is designed, and cannot be changed by the casting magus, although a spell working in one way is similar to a spell that is identical apart from working in the other, and so knowledge of one gives a bonus to inventing the other.

For example, a spell to put pink dots on people's foreheads with Target: Room and Duration: Moon could work in two ways. In the version that works in the first way, everyone in the room (on whom the spell Penetrates) at the time of casting gets a pink dot on their forehead, and this pink dot remains on their forehead until the new moon and full moon have both set. In the version that works in the second way, anyone who is inside the room (on whom the spell Penetrates) until the new moon and full moon have both set gets a pink dot on their forehead, even if they were not in the room when the spell was cast. When they leave the room, the pink dot disappears, although it reappears if they go back into the room. These two versions are two different spells, and a maga who wants to cast both (and cannot reliably cast them spontaneously) needs to create two spells.

A container may cease to exist as a container before the spell duration ends. If the spell is of the second type, the spell ends when the container ceases to exist. If it is of the first type, the spell is unaffected, unless the Target is Circle, in which case it ends when the circle is broken. A container can change to some extent without being destroyed. Opening a door to a room does not mean that the Room has been destroyed, while removing one of the walls completely normally would, as would adding a new wall to split the room into two rooms. On the other hand, a Structure would not cease to exist just because an interior room was split in two. Removing one wall of a room to make a larger room would normally destroy the Room, but adding a room to the top of a tower probably does not destroy the Structure. If a tent forms a room, then striking the tent and packing it away destroys the Room, but the walls can flex in the wind without the Room ceasing to exist. If the spell is initially cast with the tent partially folded, and then it is stretched out, the Room would normally get larger. The absolute limit to the growth of a container target is the size modifier of the spell. (Circles, again, are a special case, as they are defined by the circle traced at the time of casting, and cannot grow or shrink. Any attempt to do so would normally break the circle and end the spell.)

Most containers do not normally move, but they can. A Structure, for example, can be a ship. This is irrelevant to spells of the first type, which affect anything within the container at the time of casting, no matter what happens after that. Spells of the second type move with the container. Note that if a tower is magically ripped from the side of a keep and flown through the air, the rooms within the tower move with the tower, and Room-Target spells of the second type move with them, but the Structure has been destroyed, so any Structure Target spells of the second type end. Circles can move, but only if carried by the surface on which they are drawn. Boundaries are, by their nature, immobile. Any attempt to move a Boundary destroys it for magical purposes. (Note that, in Mythic Europe, the earth neither spins nor moves through space: things that do not move relative to the earth do not move at all.)

Circles and Rings in Three Dimensions

The standard Ars Magica rules use an intuitive definition of "inside the circle" for Circle Targets and Ring Durations. A person standing in the centre of a 1 pace diameter circle is inside the circle; someone who happens to be standing directly above it three floors higher is not. If your troupe need something more precise, you can work something out, and it should not break anything in the rules. Bear in mind, however, that it will still come down to the troupe's decision on whether a thing is within the more precisely defined volume.

Similar considerations apply to other container Targets if they are not closed in three dimensions, which is likely to be case for many Boundaries, and may be the case for Rooms or Structures.

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What about circles/rings painted or otherwise traced onto ceilings?

david: there's not a good strict-rules version of this. use the intuitive definition.
tellus: immediately attempts to rules-lawyer it

edit: this was rather more vicious a degree of sarcasm than was warranted. Sorry about that.


Was that post necessary?

I'm sticking to the soap bubble concept. If the floor is close enough, the soap reaches the floor and form a cylinder wall.

Oh, it was certainly more sarcastic than was warranted, and I do apologize for that, but at some point you have to recognize that "the rules-lawyers have failed to come up with a strict definition that doesn't have abusable edge cases, use your own intuition and your troupe's best judgement" is not actually an invitation to keep trying to rules-lawyer abusable edge cases out of the deliberately-non-strict definition. It's very silly, entirely unproductive, and faintly insulting to Mr. Chart's very clear, deliberate, well-considered decision that this will not be strictly ruled upon.

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I found thepsybog's comment funny and good-natured; personally I would not have resented it and I suspect Tellus didn't.

However, Tellus' question was a good one, and it deserves a serious answer rather than being shrugged off as rules-lawyering. At least I hope it gets one! If the question is whether such a Circle can affect something on the floor immediately below it, it's an edge case - so "edge" in fact that I'm not quite sure how I'd adjudicate it - but potentially a common case: if it works, placing Circles you don't want accidentally disturbed (or that you hope get accidentally overlooked) on ceilings might be a good idea commonly enacted by magi.

So the question becomes, perhaps: do we want Circles on ceilings to affect stuff on the floor immediately below them?

I and my troupe would ask a question in return: what's the circle for? But we seem to give more attention and leeway to authorial intent than is the norm on this board.

My answer to that would simply by YSMV. Depending on the tone you want to set- can the Winchester's demon trap be painted on the ceiling? Or does a circle painted on the ceiling only affect things on the ceiling (CrIg for a ceiling lamp, for example)

It made me smile.

I'll be blunt. My troupe wildly abuses (in my opinion) circles on ceilings. To me, it's not exactly an edge case, it's several places in our covenant and more-or-less removing the need for T: Room.

I believe they are essentially a result of Circles with cylindrical volumes.

And I hate them. I really don't think we want them.

Healing bonuses are the original one. The others I believe are derived from that effect.

I am pretty sure that I would rule that a circle on the ceiling does not affect things that are standing (sitting/lying) on the floor. If it helps your case to tell your troupe that, go ahead. :wink:


I had thought the same, and then I wondered: would I rule that a Circular Ward against Vermin drawn on the floor does not affect an insect crawling on the ceiling? And that gave me some pause.

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[runs aways and hides]

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