Question on targeting with Whispers through the Black Gate

An odd scenario came up during last session that I'd like to share and get some insight on. A few magi were using Whispers through the Black Gate to communicate with some recently dead humans, to try to find out what happened to them. In the process it came about that one of the dead was being rather unhelpful, and also probably holds important information that the characters want as it appears that person might have been responsible for some of the bad recent events.

The trouble I have is that they have proposed to create a new spell which will interrogate the mind of the spirit which is answering the questions, in a manner similar to Peering into the Mortal Mind. ie. Read, scan, search the "mind" of a spirit; a reasonable idea and very suitable to the problem the have.

But then I started to try and hermetically suss out how that spell would be targeted and came unstuck. It stems from the issue of how WttBG works in terms of targeting, as the spirit is not actually present to my reading, rather the corpse is the gateway which seems like an informal(?) arcane connection to the spirit. That being the case WttBW should be R:Arc, not Voice. And the new spell should also be R: Arc.

The boards have discussed WttBG being a legacy spell before [[url]]] and therefore OK to not be strictly 5e compliant and I'm ok with that. I do wish however to not have additional legacy introduced based from that premise.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
cheers IBT

Are you sure spirit is not present?

I do not recall anywhere being mentioned that spirits would leave immediately, with exception of crusaders and such who go straight to Heaven. Pagan spirits might be tied to the actual body they inhabited.

If you look at Incantation of Summoning the Dead, AM5 p.152, it says that both the spot where a person died and his/her corpse are Arcane Connections to a person's ghost, so it should work just as well for an InMe spell. Incantation of Summoning the Dead, however, is a ritual spell.

So if you are unhappy with simply using InMe with Arcane Range on a ghost (and I would, unless said ghost is explicitly residing in the mundane world rather that the Magic Realm or the afterlife of your choice, since it implies that Arcane Connection work across Realms, never mind regiones, and this has large consequences), you could just require your players to use first Incantation of Summoning the Dead, which would bring the ghost in their presence, and then they can InMe it to their heart's content, or for that matter ReMe it to compel it to answer.

Or you could rule that the InMe spell to read a ghost's mind at Arcane Range needs to be a ritual too. That won't stop your players, but it will at least insure they won't casually read the memories of dead person they come across...

The corpse should be an Arcane Connection to the spirit. So, any effect with Arcane range should be fine.

I would recommend a look at Rop:M or TMRE, not sure which one, but it has a big sidebar on ghosts and spirits. Reading the thoughts and memories of such a being may run into some serious problems considering the memories that remain. I don't think treating a person's memory as a database that is automatically stored in entirety when they die is a very good idea or kosher. Those memories are likely to fade fast, be spotty at best... serf's parma and all that. Memories are always difficult since it's from the questioned person's perspective. Not necessarily reality.

That being said, I don't think this is implicated in your scenario since they're questioning the spirit about specific activities it engaged in. But I'm not very keen on reading the "mind" of such a thing.

The degradation of the mind is a consideration I'll use, thanks for that cool suggestion; and too all the folks who helped. The comments makes sense, as does the Arc connection and the bit I missed in WttBG. I'm happy that I have an approach that will be sympathetic to the lore now. It was the direction I was leaning but a few opinions always help.

You could use coerce the spirits of the night at level 30 for arcane connection range. CtSotN is an AMAZING spell for drama and high stakes scenes, since you apply bonuses and penalties depending on how credible are the treats the the magus puts forward. Can make for some nasty (or hilarious) scenes. Been a while since we used it, but we always found it funny and one of the best kind of uses of mentem (we tend to dislike mentem as an information source since it messes around with out mystery plots too much).

Having the body counts as an AC, so you shouldn't have much problems with penetration.

Uncooperative ghosts are great. Following the advise in an official publication I had a tree LIE like a madman to the magi as well and sent hem on a crazy path for a while :mrgreen: Who said an oak is your friend when you talk to him? So kudos for your uncooperative ghost.


During the "interview" the ghost managed to get the caster's name, house, and covenant name from the caster, and implied a knowledge of hermetic aspects of life. I think the only thing they confirmed is that the ghost wishes to return to life, and was from Western Europe somewhere. He'll tell them more if the character grant him a return.

I'm kind of tempted to change my game plan, and see where the ghost's own story goes rather than where he is meant to point the characters. :slight_smile:

Lol, that´s always the risk when introducing "helper" characters. You want them to have a good background story, but when you give them that, they easily get too good to ignore after they´ve done what they were made to do.

You could try to setup so that you can go with both storylines.