Restricting eligible targets

Can one create spells, enchanted devices etc. that work on a narrower range of targets than would be normally permitted by the guidelines? For example ... "Cat of outlandish size" that works like Beast of Outlandish size but only works on cats?

Initially, I thought "obviously yes". While generally pointless, there are cases when it would make sense, for example to benefit from a magical focus in cats when you create an enchanted collar with said effect for your favourite cat.

However, I now realize that it would allow a magus to do some really sneaky detection stuff. For example, imagine you want to ascertain whether a person has the Gift. You can cast a Base 10 effect to explicitly detect it (The numbness of the Gift, Apprentices p.33). But if you allow "restricted targets" you could also cast "Pink Dot for the Gifted": a Base 1,MuIm (note, it's not just much lower level, it's not an Intellego spell either) effect that makes a pink dot appear on the subject's forehead, and only works on Gifted targets. This is something I dislike immensely.

Any ideas?

I think the restriction should be linked to the Form used for the spell : for example an imaginem spell could be restricted to some category of image or color but not to the target nature, like if he has the gift, if he's from royal blood, if he's a parents etc.

And personally, I never allow a restriction that's not obvious enough to an average observer (a spell affecting only cat is OK, a spell affecting only king's loyalists is not for example)


I strongly agree with that interpretation. How do you know they are gifted? You don't. How do you know it's a cat. It looks cattish? cat like? in the cat category?...... We know what a cat is.

I appreciate one can go down a rabbit hole with this.

What if there is an illusion of a cat, a demon shapeshifted as a cat? The cat targeting spell fails and the magi now know it's not a cat.

I personally think if someone wants to do the cat thing and it's good for the story, do it. Magic is special. It doesn't follow normal physics.

I appreciate magic should have some internal consistency. One of the internal consistencies magic has in a game I run, is it knows when people are being rules exploiting schnapperheads ruining the game, and the magic fails. Pink dots do nothing in a game I run. I truly hope pink dot is a thought exercise debated on the forums for fun, and no-one has ever tried to use it in game.

1 Like

The target for "Pink Dot for the Gifted" is the created pink dot, so I think that is a bad example for your question.

Considering "Shape of the Woodland Prowler" instead. Is it possible to have a version that works only in gifted people?

This spell would actually do two things: identify target as gifted and than change it based on the identified condition. If we assume there is nothing that makes one spell with two effects inherently impossible (and this is a BIG "if" in my opinion), this alone would require In and Vi requisites at least. And they allow the spell to do something it wouldn't otherwise, so I'd add at least +1 magnitude for each.

But I'd say that you can't just merge several effects without correlation in a single spell. Not sure if there is an explicit rule somewhere (I though so, but I can't find it right now). But it doesn't seem right.

I'd point to linked triggers in magic items used to identify undefined groups. If what you are proposing were possible, this would be unnecessary. But this doesn't seems to end the question for me, because it doesn't answer the key point of "why can't you make a spell that has an inherent ability to target a restricted group?".

I'll pick up my books on Magic Theory latter and try to come back with something better than gut feeling.

1 Like

I would expect that you could not target people with the Gift specifically, but you could target people who have the Gift's social penalty.

You are right.
I got caught up in my own wording when I wrote CrIm; it should have been MuIm.

Really? I mean, if that's the case any spell that targets a subset of a Form (or, more precisely, a subset of what a given guideline could target) should have, at a minimum, an Intellego requisite. I ... do not like that either, and I believe there are canonical counterexamples.

Is "gifted person" a subset of the Corpus form? Or, in your words, "a subset of what a given guideline could target"?

At least, it is obviously canon. There are plenty of legacy spells with seemingly arbitrary restrictions.

In some sense, your example does not appear substantially different from the PeVi spells to destroy might. They work on a target if and only if they have a certain invisible property.

I would call upon the very fundamental and crucial rule: It is abusive, so don't talk about it, or find a different troupe to play with.


The set of bodies of Gifted humans is a subset of the set of bodies that could be affected by the Corpus Form, sure.

1 Like

While a person possessing the Gift is still subject to being affected by Corpus, the Gift itself does not fall under Corpus (it falls under Vim, per HMRE p.6 and App p.33). Corpus is unable to detect or interact with the Gift.

Creation of a spell/effect with requires the target to possess the Gift must contain the Vim Form, which is what the Gift falls under. Additionally the only Hermetic Guideline that interacts with the Gift is Intellego Vim Base 10 (Detect the Gift). Just detecting the Gift is a fairly powerful Hermetic Effect.

Since a spell must use the highest Base, any Spell/Effect requiring the target to possess the Gift would be at least a Base 10. If the Base of the desired (non InVi) effect was lower than 10, then the Arts from it would be (+1) Requisites. For example a MuIm spell to change some aspect of the appearance of a Gifted target (for example make the target appear pink if they possess the Gift, since evil pink dot was invoked in the thread earlier) would actually be a In(Mu)Vi(Im) Base 10 effect, requiring an Imaginem +1 and Muto +1 Requisite. For Touch range, you are looking at level 25. Items with some variation of this effect should actually be fairly common (even if players never encounter them) within the Order, since it is an essential item for Redcaps and Grogs to find people who have the potential to become a Magus.

EDIT: After thinking about it more, the MuIm effect could be considered Cosmetic. This would be the case if it was only something that the caster/user perceived since this would not add additional functionality to the spell/effect. If the change is something that anyone can notice then this is additional functionality (allowing everyone, rather than just the caster/user, to determine who has the Gift).

1 Like

That being said, at least in faerie magic you can create charms that give bonuses against targets based on their social station, so this is not an absolute. f I have a faerie charm which gives a +2 bonus against noblemen and incorporate it into a spell can I use that to detect who is or is not a true nobleman?

1 Like

In a case like, from another thread, a spell targeting a specific type of animal like cats instead of the entire Animal form, it is the Essential Nature of the Targeted individual that negates any need for an Intellego requisite. One could argue that the Gift is indeed part of the Essential Nature of Gifted people but, as other posters have pointed out, it still requires Vim to detect as it's not part of Corpus.

What is "the Gift social penalty" and how could magic identify this? If it's about detecting a "magical air", this would still be a InVi effect.

The penalty itself arises when two people are interacting with each other, and I'd expect that it can't really be detected by magic, just as magic can't identify the language that two people are using to communicate.

Not for the purpose of Corpus, no. A gifted human is no more a subset than a human wearing a green shirt, or a human standing under the sun, or a human that is sad because his wife is dead. Neither of these conditions (Gift, green shirt, standing under the sun, dead wife) are things that Corpus could reasonably identify, and yet, a Corpus spell can affect any of the above described.

the thing is that there is a lot of inconsistency. Faerie charms can apparently discriminate based on gender, social class, hair color, or whatever poetic turn of a phrase you care to use. Given that the idea that it has to be a subcategory of the form you are using seems a bit disingenuous. It's one of those wide open topics of YSMV that isn't really addressed. If you use the guideline of things people can observe then the Gift's penalty (whether from the actual Gift or Magical Air) would be a basis for detection. If you use sub forms it would not. If you use something else ask your SG.
Oh, and you can use magic to determine what language someone is speaking- InMe "What language are you speaking" will handle it just fine.

Charm magic is a mystery. It doesn't make sense to judge what hermetic magic can and cannot do based on something that isn't fully hermetic. Also, charms give bonuses to specific conditions, that either are applicable or aren't. They don't change the spell guidelines themselves. In that sense, it's not different from the virtue Special Circumstances.

As for detecting language, sure, you can target the mind of someone and ask it. This isn't the same thing as detecting the language itself. InMe can grasp meaning and intent of spoken words, but this isn't the same thing as comprehending the language either.

This was actually the intent of my comparison: you can detect the Gift using InVi; you can detect animosity from someone against another using InMe. But you can't directly detect the penalty from the Gift. You surely can't identify it using Corpus, because it isn't a property of the body, but something that arises from the social interaction between someone with the Gift and someone unprotected by Parma. In the same way that you can use InMe to inquire someone's mind about the language or the meaning, but not to parse the words themselves.

Anyway, I fail to see how hermetic magic could identify if a target has or not the Gift without using InVi.


Do you also fail to see how hermetic magic could identify if a target has or not supernatural Might without using InVi?

Of course. Failing to affect the target can happen for several reasons. If you cast a InMe on a target and your spell is cast but has no effect, you don't know if the target has Might, Parma, or if it doesn't have a mind to start. It could also be due to hermetic resistance (w/o Parma), or a miracle. Or, unlikely but possible, some form of hedge-resistance or immunity.

(I know it seems I'm nitpicking, but I'm not. Bear with me.)

Now, I imagine you were actually thinking of casting PeVi spells? If DEO works (assuming it penetrates) the target has Infernal Might, alright. But that is a bit like saying that if you cast PeTe on a rock and it was destroyed it was really a rock. The target was valid. It's just that.

There is however a small caveat about PeVi, in that the guidelines specifically call out the need to restrict the affected Realm, and that the restriction is still covered by Vim. You aren't filtering the target based on another unrelated condition, better covered by another art. If you were, say, inventing a DEO that only works against demons aligned with Terram, I'd say you have to add InTe requisites to that (and in this specific case the spell would probably fail due to the Limit of Infernal).

If that's possible at all. These seem like unrelated effects to me, so I'd be more comfortable with separate spells. But of course, this is only my take on the issue.


I think we can all appreciate if we cast a certain Perdo Vim spell and it has an effect, then we've spotted a demon, or fairy, etc, depending on the might stripper used. I don't have an issue with that.

Let's say we have a setting where Satan's rising. Satan's convinced half the world and half the order God just had better public relations, Satan's not the villain, he's just a different player in the great game and one should join Satan's side.
We could have as a wizards handshake, magi cast a level 5 perdo vim infernal or divine might stripping spell to prove you aren't a demon or angel in disguise. I think that's a feature, not a bug......

I'll go back to my comment about going down a rabbit hole. Does every spell that targets anything require an intelligo requisite? Any spell could be targeting an image. The rock wall may be an image of a rock wall, can you target it?

Sure. That's why you should put yourself in a situation where you positively, absolutely know that in front of you there's a mouse with a taste for cheese, that is either mundane, or has Magic Might 10, and no other Virtue, Power, etc. is interfering. Then you cast a simple Ward against the Beast of Legends, with sufficient penetration, procure a tasty piece of cheese etc.

Remember, I never said that hermetic magic can always identify if a target has or not supernatural Might without using InVi. By your own examples, you can't always do it even by using InVi or by any other means. But you can do it sometimes, and that's enough as a counterexample to suggest that maybe "hermetic magic could identify if a target has or not the Gift without using InVi" even if you fail to see how.

Well, canonically, with Rego Terram you can create a Ward that only works agaist Faeries aligned with Terram, and it does not require any Intellego (or Vim) requisite.