Question: Can 'Firelight' be a range?

HI all,

An idea I had for an enchanted item (possibly spell, but more likely effect): Can a magus use the area that a fire illuminates as the range of an invested effect?
Quick example:

Firelight Sanctuary
Range: Firelight (analogous to Sight)
Duration: Sun
Target: Group

No animals or vermin will willingly approach within range of what the lantern illuminates.

Level breakdown:
Uses 'Circle of Beast Warding' as a guide
Base effect: 2
+3 Firelight (uses 'Sight' as an equivalent)
+2 Sun
+2 Group
Final level: 25

I could see this being a new target as well, analogous to Circle.

But I'll stop here: Is this something that you would allow RAW? Or would it first need a minor Hermetic breakthrough?

I wouldn't allow it under RAW without a break through.

For players looking to invent this, I'd probably point in the direction of Sensory Magic, HoH: MC, p. 27ff.

And then ask a lot of questions like: "How would you define illluminate?"

I would agree with Vespasian. After the breakthrough I would consider it like Ring. Also, I think there is something similar with a duration somewhere, perhaps with the Zoroastrians?


D: Fire perhaps?
ArM5, p. 92

Heh, yes, that would be it, too. Away from my books I wasn't sure. But I found what I was thinking of: TC&TC p.99.


Range is the distance from the caster at the time of casting. Affecting those in the area illuminated, or affecting those in a Room is a Target. Bjornaer Sensory Magic works with Target:Vision and similar (see ArM5 p 113-4).

Most Targets are well defined, and "the area illuminated" or "5 paces radius" lack sympathetic connections. Nevertheless, Target:Circle is the closest to what you're trying.

If it were just a Range (as opposed to a Target), I'd be inclined to allow it under suitable restrictions, like the mage must be standing in the illuminated area (and putting a cap on how much area a fire can "illuminate"). Functionally it's not that different from Voice Range, really, and it's extremely colorful and would lend nice texture to an otherwise vanilla Voice Range spell. At the very worst, require an Ignem requisite to use a Firelight range and have it affect the spell's level the same as Voice. I'd call that an allowable flexing of canon.

That could be done I suppose.
I'd probably put it at 'Voice+1, for exotic and unusual' though.

Fires tend to have a a fairly defined area of illumination. It is a first area where the light is strong. After that area, the fire still illuminates, but the strength of the illumination is quite poor. I would put the effect only for the first area, not the secondary, since the secondary one could be easily exploited. The first area tends to be fairly small, even if ypu are burning down a forest. So, making it equivalent to Circle as suggested sounds about right :slight_smile: Minor breakthrough IMS if anyone wanted to introduce it. I find it quite a cool concept.


I agree.
One Circle Target (or Voice Range) +1 range for no common parameter, or minor breaktrough to make it more freely.

It´s considerably less powerful than Voice. What´s exotic about it?

Agreed. It also wont work very well while it´s light anyway.

No, definitely not! A big forestfire can give you enough light to read by from beyond a hundred meters.
So maybe needs to be defined as light from a campfire or equal or something.

It's considerably further than touch - so voice (actually I'd prefer sight, but that's the illumination debate Vespasian mentioned above:

It's exotic in the sense that is is not a standard range (Personal, Touch/Eyes, Voice, Sight or Arcane) nor a standard Target (Individual/Circle, Part, Group/Room, Structure or Boundary).
Nothing more complicated than that.

Thanks for the responses, all! I think I might hold off on introducing this in my current campaign. Some backstory on where this came from:
In the most recent saga I ran, the players were adventuring in a fallen temple. It was a temple of death (the restful sleep kind, not the destroy-the-world kind, for the most part). They drove off Polandrus the demon, and found a lantern wielded by the Peregrina (Pilgrim) who escorted the departed souls to the afterlife. In a painting, they saw that her lantern warded off the various demons trying to snatch the souls of the departed. For inspiration, I pirated parts the Spanish play 'La Dama del Alba.' My Spanish teacher in my senior year of high school would be proud.

Thus, the effect was an enchanted item: As long as the lantern was lit, it would ward off any demons with Infernal Might of 20 or less. I got away with the non-Hermetic ness by saying it was a faerie-based item, not Hermetic Magic. I was thinking of generalizing to any sort of effect that would target anyone within the range of its illumination. I deliberately didn't use a ward, as I wanted to avoid the debates/controversies surrounding ward magic at this time.

As a side note, my beta ST wasn't pleased with the item--he felt it was too pwerful and wasn't thrilled with the idea of 'legacy' items: Powerful rewards one ST introduces that the rest were stuck with.

As a corollary to this post, how comfortable do you as STs feel about not having the inner workings and stats of an item identifiable? I know with Hermetic magic, even found treasure, I'm supposed to list the effects, how they were invested, the forms and levels, etc. But I find myself willing to say 'Light the fire and it wards against demons. How does it work? It's faerie magic and you have no idea, that's how."
How acceptable is it io fudge the rules on non-Hermetic items?

I like the Awesome Factor of items to hold. This tends to be more pronounced when the mechanics are not "this is a ReAu spell of 4th magnitude with penetration 22". So I have no problems with not-so-mechanic items. Others do not agree with me, though

So far, I do not see any reason for the lantern to conform with Hermetic magic at all.

TME you do yourself a favor, if you decide from the start in general terms, how items you introduce into a campaign were made and how they work. Often you will never need to figure out their numbers beyond penetration. But there are Bonisagi, seekers and Pralixians around, whom your players' characters might consult about strange magic. And there are creative players.
Better do not use set phrases for handwaving like "it's Faerie Magic" too often: players catch up with this quickly.


Definitely, for Hermetic items I determine the precise effect, level, penetration, etc, and remember to check whether an enchanted item can actually hold the level of effects that you are putting in it. Also remember that the sigil of the maker is normally easily identifiable.

I don't usually bother thinking too hard about how items were made (whether several magi worked together, whether a specialised lab was used etc), as long the effect is not too crazily powerful. Although, if I think that the player characters might encounter the maker of the item, I do try to think about whether it is plausible that he actually could have made it.

Even with non-Hermetic things it is pretty easy for magi to cast InVi spells that at least reveal the magnitude of the effect and possibly the Form (or Form analogue). So I find it's a good idea to note those down for non-Hermetic items, and of course, you need to know the Penetration.

Even if you don't think that the player characters have sufficient InVi totals to investigate an item, it is usually very simple for the player characters to just take a mysterious item to an InVi expert for a consultation.

I think it really adds something great to the saga if most items (and spell effects, etc) are analyzable and identifiable by the player character magi (or at least other magi they consult). It really adds to the feeling that the magi actually are experts in magic. Also, when a rare item arises that does not quite seem to make sense, then the player characters (and players) really start to sit up and take notice, because they then know that they are onto something significant and special, and not just looking at a handwaving mistake made by the storyguide.

That´s not "exotic". That´s "not part of the minimalist game setting you start out with".

Exactly. So unless you want to take a rather extreme view on the "illuminate" debate, making it equal to Voice makes good sense. It´s range is probably roughly that of Voice, but it´s more limited so it´s total value is below that of Voice.

Completely agree. It´s a very bad habit to get used to demanding that all spells and items must be perfectly statted up using the main system. If they were created within that system then it should be an obvious thing to do unless there´s reason not to(like an item having a highend effect to hide what it´s effects really are for example).

So are you saying, that in your interpretation of the game, magic parameters not allowed in 'standard' Hermetic magic - those requiring specific virtues, cults or mysteries to use - aren't considered Exotic?
Then what is?
Because this is the definition almost word for word (were I ever to write such things down) of Exotic magic for me: "Not readily usable in general Hermetic theory, but requiring a virtue or such".

Pardon me, but that is how I define 'exotic' in context.
If you want a parameter to have a non-standard value without atleast a +1 for exotic, make a minor break through.

There is no step between Touch and Voice. I assume hermetic magic has fairly optimised the traditional values.
Thus anything beyond Touch is at the Voice-level or higher.
So, let's call it voice, but add +1 because it is exotic (as defined above).

Now I'd probably have 'illuminated' as a Target rather than a Range, though.

If it's a hermetic item, I think it should be, really.
If it's not hermetic, there's potentially a story in that simple fact - and no, it probably needn't be fully stated, though i'd still prefer to have it fully described.

To Avenger:

  1. Don't worry, this forum provokes these discussions at the drop of a hat. don't worry about it.
  2. This item could be Faerie or Divine easily. It is very cool and traditional - I just happen to think that "illuminated" is ill-defined.

"not allowed"? Since when? IIRC it´s even stated somewhere that what is listed in RAW is the basics, not comprehensive and allcovering.

When did i say anything what so ever about any that requires virtues?

Why should this range require a virtue?

Guess you have a strange definition on "exotic". Even the old 4th ed ranges "near, far" etc is more exotic than "firelight" compared to 5th ed vanilla ranges. Because they are not based on something tangible or non-theoretical. "Firelight" or something similar is in fact very much like the common vanilla ranges.

Exotic is if compared to the common existing parameters it is the oddball, NOT similar, NOT alike. OR, if you need a modifier to avoid creating a munchkin problem.

And in case you missed it, this means it already effectively has a ~+1 modifier. Calling it exotic is just silly.
Why would anyone want to spend LOTS of time making a breakthrough for a parameter that is so grossly underpowered? Give players a break, please!

At equal to Voice, with a not too lenient definition, it is a somewhat useful but NOT good range. At equal to Sight, it just gets laughable. It´s pretty much useless during daylight time, it´s shorter ranged than Voice, and you seriously want to place it at a higher level?

And if by "nonstandard" you mean anything outside of the AM5 main book, then you´re NOT using the game mechanics seriously! And if in that you include anything at all from other books, then you´re being inconsistent, because some of THOSE can really be called exotic without getting hit with unjustified penalties for it.

I will stick to my extended list of parameters thank you very much. Going from Kiss at +0 via Stadium(~185m) at +4 to Unlimited at +20. My list gives players options instead of killing off ideas.

That is the only issue i find with it.