Planting a single suggestion in the mind of an animal

The playercharacters of my Provencal-Saga will probably need to rescue a town from a rat infestation.

Do you think it is enough to plant a single suggestion in the mind of an animal (ReAn Guidelines Base 2) to cause it to leave the town? ("I´d like to recommend you the tasty fruits and seeds of the next forest"). Maybe the playercharacters will try to reach this effect spontaneously with a group target.

And by the way: I´m not very familiar with the "vermin"-special rules. Does a rat infestation count as one big monster animal or as thousands of animals?

Just in case it counts as many animals: How many rats could a rat infestation of a town of middle size include? More than 10000? Or more than 100000? Or even more?

And in any case: What do you think will be the size modificator for a (group) target?


I believe that rats are Size -7. Which is a bit more than a hundred-fold size decrease from the individual of Animal (Size +1). A group target allows you to target up to 10 individual's mass. Which means a group spell targeting rats would be able to affect 1,000 rats. However, it is worth noting that the group target requires the targets to be within a reasonable range of each other. Targeting every rat in a town is unlikely unless the players devise a means to attract all the rats to one place. Otherwise this will likely require a ritual to target the Town as a Boundary.

A town sits somewhere around 1,000-8,000 people. Its hard to figure out how many rats per capita there would be in the 13th century, but somewhere around 4-rats per person should do it in my opinion. A group spell with a +2 size modifier would safely target every rat, being able to target up to 100,000 rats with a single casting.

Oh, the 4-rats/capita stat is probably the average for a normal town, so if you're are looking for an infestation, I suppose you could double it.

Rats have Size-8 (RAW, p. 192).

The base individual for Animal spells is a creature with size +1.

1 rat: -8
10 rats: -5
100 rats: -2
1000 rats: +1

If a rat infestation of a town would incorporate 10.000 rats and more, the size modificator would be +1.
If it would incorporate 100.000 rats and more, the size modificator would be +2.
If it would incorporate 1.000.000 rats and more, the size modificator would be +3.

That are my thoughts, so far. Correct?

My uncertainty concerning the possibilities of the base 2 guidelines of ReAn persists.

How do you handle this?


A few thoughts (and I'm away from my book so forgive the generality)

  • the default target size is +1 or less, but you do not get a reduction is spell power needed due to that single target being smaller. It takes the same magic to affect a swan or a newborn chick; both are the same base effect regardless of size. I think you are reducing the spell effect level down for the creature size, but that is not how the mechanics work.
  • when you wish to increase the number of Individuals affected, you add mags from the base.
    i.e. +1 mag for 10 rats, +2 for 100, +3 for 1,000, +4 for 10,000.
  • the ReAn suggestion will be implanted in the target, but that does not stop that suggestion being forgotten, or ignored if something else distracts it once the duration expires. The effect will need to persist the suggestion, or not all the rats will do as suggested. Duration Sun (+2) will be enough time to get a rat to leave a city, but Diameter (+1) probably won't.
  • the suggestion will be a memory in the rats mind after the spell expires, but have far less influence.
  • out of 100,000 rats I'd say a ReAn2 spell will not yield all of them. The suggestion will be superseded by some urgent matter as the rat moves (danger, tasty food)
  • I agree with above - you need to target the creatures too, so Boundary (or some cleverness) will be needed.

Yes, you´re right, my fault.

That means:
1 rat: base 2
10 rats: size+1
100 rats: size+2
1.000 rats: size+3
10.000 rats: size+4
100.000 rats: size +5
1.000.000: rats: size +6

What about this special "vermin"-rules? All this filthy rats may be ONE BIG MONSTER SWARM. Is there anything in the rules, that could confirm this opinion? (the size modifier would be the same, but maybe you´d need no group target).

True. The comparable spells in RAW have Duration Con (> "Disguise of the Putrid Aroma" or "Panic of the Elephant´s Mouse")

Yes, I think this is a reasonable thought. The question is: "Is it enough to end an infestation?"

I think, you need "boundary" if you want to cast a ward against rats about the town. But the rats are already there. The question is, if "group" triggers all of the rats. I´m not sure, but as long as someone proves that black is white I´d be generous. It is ONE RAT INFESTATION.


Now that I think about it there is a different guide for Group, so check if the change of target from Ind to Group needs the increase in mag too. +0 to +2 but it gives 10 targets.

I'm not familiar enough with the swarm rules to say if it applies. Seems more like an insect range than for animals?

For targeting you'll need to be at range to at least one of the affected rats. Cant affect what you can't target.

If the spell passes muster and kills hundreds of thousands of rats then I'd say the infestation is broken. You don't need to remove all the rats.

In practice I'd say the Base 2 guideline you cite could be used for the purpose; though I think not exactly in the way you propose. From the examples I've seen I would say that plant a single suggestion in the mind of an animal does not really allow you to order an animal around, but instead it allows you to convince it that something simple and not patently false is true. E.g. "This person/thing is/isn't good to eat". So, in the case of the rats, "This town seems to have little or no food left" or "This town smells of dangerous predators" would probably work to drive the vast majority of the rats out. Not the occasional rat who's found a snuck, comfortable place with lots of good food: that rat would probably cling to its lucky pocket of plenty even more strongly, given the suggestion.

The Group target is somewhat more problematic. If you see a large horde of swarming rats, then T:Group is certainly appropriate; but to target all rats in a given town you need T:Boundary (and thus, in general, a Ritual) in my opinion. Or a really big T:Circle :slight_smile:

No! The guidelines are very explicit about this. T:Individual affects only one rat, but T:Group affects a "mass" of rats equal to 10 size +1 creatures, i.e. 10000 rats (if you assume rats are size -8).

I more or less agree. I'd use D:Conc for the purpose.

Agreed. Then again, when you want to put an end to a rat infestation, you only want the population to "normal" levels, rather than eliminating every rat in town.

I´m uncertain. Some time ago I asked in this Forum:

I got the following answer:

I´m asking: What "qualifies" as a group? Why not all members of a rat infestation?


As the corebook says, you need to make some judgement calls on this. However, a rough idea is that individuals must "look" like a cohesive whole in space (even the caster can't see the entire group at the same time). An army arrayed for battle is a large Group, for example, even if it's partly obscured from your sight; and if you can touch any soldier in that army you can cast a R:Touch, T:Group spell affecting the whole army. But if you capture a single scout operating miles ahead from the army, you can't target the whole army through him. Similarly, the town's blacksmiths aren't in general a Group, since each will be doing his own stuff at his own place; though they do become a Group when assembled together in the hall of their guild (T:Room would also work then).

So, if you see a large swarm of rats, even if you can't see entire the swarm at once (because e.g. it's turning around a corner), you can target it with T:Group. But a rat infestation in a town really just means that there are a lot more rats than normal in that town, spread as individuals or small groups across dozens of streets, hundreds or thousands of barns, cellars, churches and other buildings. So you can't target them simultaneously as a large Group.

I hope that was clearer!

Good answer. Thank you very much.


Planting the suggestion might get some rats to leave, but probably not most.

It's only a suggestion, after all, and the rats are hungy NOW! They are similarly scared to go out into the open, or near the cat. They might feel tired now, and those rats of the opposite sex sure look appealing right now.

And if the suggestion involved much planning -- as this one seems to -- I'd wonder how well the rats would understand what to do with it. A suggestion to run away, sure. A suggestion to avoid this piece of bread, sure.

So this is not a simple suggestion to an animal; it takes quite a bit of complexity to execute.

Maybe a higher base effect?

That said, a Group of rats is a lot of rats; a Boundary is lots and lots and lots. A boundary that covers a town will surely effect every rat in town.


Animal is an interesting Form in that it covers both Mentem- and Corpus- like effects. For Mentem, an Ind is one mind. RAW, an An effect similar to Me still is based on mass. ReAn becomes interesting: If I MuMe someone, his punch does not need to penetrate. If I MuCo him, it does. Some MuAn effects clearly act as MuCo, but what about the MuAn effects that act like Me?