Rings and fluids and light

A discussion I actually had with my girlfriend recently, how Ring durations affect light and flowing substances. Thought I'd post it here for more input, from people who know the books and canon better than I do. Can light or water cross the edge of a ring that sustains it? The ring supposedly is 'broken' if the target passes beyond the edge of the ring.
Situation one: CrIg Create light, D:sun. It creates a point of light, shines and fills a room. Nobody has any problems with how this works.
Situation two: CrIg Create light, D: Ring. Theoretically, this spell lasts forever until the ring is broken. however, you're creating a light, the target, which is filling the room. I'd never doubted it til now, but it feels like the substance of the light is implicitly expanding beyond the ring and breaking it.
Situation three: CrIg Create Fire, D: Ring. An expansion, this creates a small bonfire inside the ring. This is a physical object, and sheds light and heat naturally. The byproducts should be able to pass the ring safely, but as long as the actual fire stays where it is, the ring won't be broken.
Situation four: CrAq Create Water. If you feel Situation Two should still work, with a permanent light, what if instead you create water in the circle? Like light, water expands fluidly to fill an area, but is a more physical object than the light. I assume this would break the ring if it flows out beyond the circle.

I feel like I'm just rambling at this point...

Apparently the ArM5 p.113 size of Creo-ed light is determined by the space it illuminates: see ArM5 p.139 Moonbeam and p.140 Lamp without Flame. Being seen from outside a Ring would then not qualify for breaking it, but illuminating an area beyond - i.e. triggering and transporting (HoH:S p.61) iconic species there - would.
This requires an on/off understanding of illumination, of course. But as your eyes adapt to the light, the area it illuminates for you is usually well delimited: and comparing different people's vision to exactly determine the boundary of the light you Creo-ed is sooo 18th century.

A water target flowing out of the Ring clearly

the Ring, ending the D: Ring spell.


2A - CrIg create light spell with D: Conc plus a D:Ring ReVi spell to sustain it? Would this work and would it be different than 2?

1 Like

AFAICS the D:Ring ReVi spell to sustain it requires a thorough troupe discussion.

Just when would its target - here the D: Conc CrIg spell - move outside the ring? When would other possible target spells, like a D: Conc version of ArM5 p.117 The Wizard's Mount?

Once spell A is cast, in documented magical practice its location is no longer distinguishable from the location of its target:

  • Dispelling A targets A's target.
  • InVi spells to detect A locate it on A's target.
  • An Aegis reacts to A if A's target moves into it.
    Does this hold in general? It certainly makes sense also for the D:Ring ReVi spell to sustain A.


I mostly added the flowing water example as a show to why I felt the light moving beyond the ring would be considered breaking the ring. Treating light as a fluid seems somewhat... mythically appropriate.

I'm sorry to bother anybody by reviving a topic but I've got a question that I've been itching to ask and this topic is exactly what I was looking for.
Imagine said scenario:
A mage enters a jet chamber and casts a D,T: ring spell, creating a well-behaved, totally uncontroversial spotlight in said ring. The light is constantly being shed from the vault and behaves naturally. Said mage also made four cones with some MuTe: soot-black, gentle chalk-white, mate (of frosted glass) and a shiny mirror one.
It is rather uncontroversial to assume the first cone wouldn't hurt the light in any way. It's also obvious that something would happen if you were to teleport the last cone in the ring: either the light would dissipate and the spell would end with it or it would just stop at the border (as if being absorbed by the air). Which option is the most correct?
What would happen with the opaque and the frosted ones being inserted? Is a chalk cone any different from the mirror one? Will the diffused light count as a separate instance of light in case of the glass cone? Is there some rigid or relative border that dictates how much light would constitute a "leak"?

As I understand the interaction between light and species, the following would happen.

The area inside the ring is illuminated, and you can see what's in the Ring. Because the species being shed inside the ring are being illuminated, and are transmitted in their illuminated state. Area outside the Ring would NOT be illuminated, because the light cannot leave the Ring.

I could be completely wrong, but RAW light created in a Ring should not be able to leave the Ring, nor should heat from a fire created inside a Ring. And that's going to look really strange and unnatural.

I'm wondering... Specifically with Creo Ignem to create fire... Might the light and heat be secondary expressions of ignem that could pass the ring without issue?

Imagine: a CrAn ring that creates a bird inside. Could this bird's voice leave the ring? Could even their image? Sure, because they are secondary elements produced by the animal.

What if it were a firefly? Could it not illuminate outside the circle (with what little illumination it offers)?

The sight, sound, and light of an animal can leave the circle. Should the heat and light of a fire not, just because the product here is of the same Form than the source?


Yes, a conjured bird could be heard outside the ring. Indeed if you used conjured a piece of rotting beef with a ring duration it would produce completely natural bees that could leave the ring (Transforming Mythic Europe Page 63 and A&A page 30 for the source about bees) as the byproduct of a thing made by a Creo spell are wholly natural and stick around.

So if creating a light source with magic is possible then the light could leave the ring and illuminate its surroundings. Covenants page 96 has an example of this spell actually although it doesn't state whether it's creating light or a light source.

The Welcome Addition of False Sunlight
CrIg 15
R: Touch, D: Ring, T: Ind
This spell creates a steady, cool, smokeless light that does not flicker.
Variants of this spell are enchanted into devices in many libraries. Some are hand held, while others float by their user, are embedded in the ceiling, or overlook the work desks of individual scholars.
(Base 4, +1 Touch, +2 Ring)

Creo Aquam guidelines actually states that they create 'springs' or 'geysers' which sound like a water source and if so the creation would be the source, which then produces water which could leave the ring but this sounds wrong so I'm on the fence about it.

The light of a conjured flame would leave the ring as the flame is the source of the light, not the magic.

Now, heat from a conjured flame an interesting one.

So first, a tangent. Lava causes +3 heat damage every diameter if a character is within 30 yards (Hermetic Projects Page 14). Now if this was magically created lava would it still have this effect? If yes then you can hurt a magus through their Parma with no penetration or aiming involved (mind you it's fairly slow and for little damage) but then you can use Ring fires to warm your lab.
If the answer is no, then created lava has to always penetrate as per the norm, but this has the effect of a magus's lab, heated by Ring fires only being warm to mundanes and cold to the Magus if the Ring fires lack sufficient penetration.

Or perhaps the heat from the flame warms the air which warms the magus.

Well we know that the species generated by magical things are in fact natural species*, so you can see/hear/smell things created by the Ring spell. The question is whether or not heat and light are considered species for these purposes. Light vs Light Source is an interesting distinction. For example, if you create a Ring spell that creates olive oil (CrHe), the light from using the lamp oil isn't so much a magically created light, so it should be able to leave the Ring. (much like the example of the bees, above). A purely magically sustained flame, however, might be different altogether.

*Unless they're designed to be magical species as well, YMMV

Seems like a Your Saga May Vary question.

My take is a different one. Whether light is a species is irrelevant (IMO)

The distinction I try to make is that of the target of the spell vs. (Potentially magical) secondary manifestations. It doesn't matter whether the bees that come from rotting flesh are natural or not, all that matters is, whether they are part of the target of the spell. And with a "create beef" spell, they are not.

Just as the Light (or heat) of the fire is a result of the fire, not part of the fire. As such, it is unbound by the circle and doesn't impact the circles ability to function.


Light isn't species.
Iconic species (which are interpreted by the eye) are carried in light however.

So without light, any iconic species emitted by an object won't be able to travel to your eyes.


I can't regard heat and light as secondary manifestations of fire. They're primary. Fire is heat and light (at least in Ars Magica terms). Now, if the magically created fire spread naturally (igniting stuff inside the circle, that would be natural heat and light, but that kind of defeats the purpose of a magically created fire in a Ring/Circle.

Though it's entirely possible that the magically created fire is burning the air (which comes and goes freely), and that results in heat and light that can leave the circle. It would allow for the Ring based magical light without violating the principles of Ring based magic.

Art & Academe in the chapter on Philosophae, meaning the primary scholarly understanding of the world, says about fire:

"Fire is composed mainly of hot and dry particles that take the form of tetrahedral corpuscles (literally, "tiny bodies")"

Fire, according to Ars Magica is a substance. A substance that has itself properties (like being hot, being dry or having weight). So is air, btw.

Heat is one of the primary properties of substances.

And substances can cause change in one another. Among that is explicitly that of increased heat.

This process of change is however not a transmission of heat (which might imply that the heat surrounding the fire is part of the original spells target) but "instead takes a pre-existing substance [the cold-ish air around the fire] and impresses upon it a new form, making it into a new substance [hot air]"

So, in summary:

The fire, a hot and dry (and probably luminous, Art&Academe doesn't make mention of light) substance that spreads its heat by changing the (natural) substances around it into substances with higher heat, which in turn can leave the circle and heat the lab.

So at least for heat it can be assumed that the fire has almost its complete effect beyond the boundaries of the circle.

(Another fun thing I found: heating an object could be done via Rego, since the change in temperature is a natural change. Just like aquam can freeze water with ReAq, one ought to be able to heat metal with ReTe or ReIg with casting requisites... But I digress)


Hmm.... I would be cautious with TME p.63-64. Yes, that is what it says, but it also implicitly contradicts the canonical statements it is trying to use as a basis for its argument. Consider that it says

Fortunately, things generated by magically created animals persist even if the spell’s duration ends.

Really? Let's go back to the original rule this is based on.

nor does its dung, if it was fed on mundane food

Why is this qualifier in the original rules? If this magically created animal was has not been fed mundane food, its dung disappears. We know that not all things generated by magically created animals persist. So we know immediately the TME reasoning here is based on an error. Now, if the statement had looked at what the magical animal's actions v. what had been part of it, we would see more validity because that would align with its footprints, which to not vanish. Its corpse, like its excrement, it part of it if it hasn't been fed on enough mundane food, and so will vanish.

So we know the statement this spell uses to back itself up is invalid. But that doesn't automatically mean the spell is invalid. We must establish if the bees are more like the excrement or more like the footprint. Similarly, we must establish if the heat (hate the word, but OK) a magical fire gives off is magical or not. But we cannot currently use the bees to make an argument about the fire because we know for sure the reasoning provided by TME is invalid.


More directly to the fire, something really important to consider is that there is at least one canonical statement in the core book that stopping the fire from heating things prevents it from burning things not already on fire. So we know without the heat the fire won't damage new things.

Something to consider at the same time is if PM should protect someone from BoAF. If it does but the heat via which the fire burns is non-magical, why does magic resistance stop the non-magical heat? If it doesn't, does that really fit with how with think PM protects someone? Or maybe the heat is magical and blocking that magical heat allows PM to protect someone from BoAF.

1 Like

I'd assume that the increase of heat via a different medium takes time. The BoAF cannot heat the magi directly, due to the parma and it doesn't hang around long enough to heat the air around them to any significant amount.

On the other hand, if you lock magi in a small room with magical fire burning for an entire sun duration, then they may not be totally impervious to the heat, even if the fire doesn't penetrate.

An analogy: if I heat natural metal with a magical flame and then poke a magus with the metal, it would not need to penetrate. The same is true if we replace the metal with air.

1 Like

Just note this is different than what you said above. You had said

Just as the Light (or heat) of the fire is a result of the fire, not part of the fire. As such, it is unbound by the circle and doesn't impact the circles ability to function.

Now you're saying the heat is bound (it's magical creation since you're saying PM blocks it, not a mundane result), but that it may make something else hot and that the heat given off by that something else is natural and not bound.

I think this new position is totally sound. But I don't think anyone disagrees with it, either. The debate is really about the prior position on which you've now switched, right?

That may well be! The finer details of my stance have clearly shifted after researching the topic in detail, but the core of my argument is the same, even though I go about arguing it differently.

In my mind the point I wanted to weigh in on was whether the heat radiating out from the fire is part of the fire and thus subject to parma and the "circle spells end once the target leaves the circle" stipulation. This difference comes down to whether heat works on the one hand:

As transmissive heat (heat leaves the fire and enters another object, thus being part of the original spell target and thus subject to the circle/parma no matter how many media it moves through) or

As generative heat (heat within the fire encourages the generation of new, seperate and natural heat in the substances around it, thus only subject to parma if it is a direct influence, without any medium in between the fire and the magus)

Art&Academe is pretty clear that the medieval paradigm falls on the side of generative heat.

Well, I'm not too sure if these options are exclusive. Combining them and allowing variety could resolve the contradictions: the fire is hot and it constantly imprints the hotness on the surrounding air, but the substance itself is much hotter. BTW, parma protects from the medium of the spell (don't have the book on me), so even a mundane knife wouldn't penetrate if guided by rego, so it's entirely possible to block mundane heat.
(And I'm still interested about white and frosted cones: is the light from them a new induced substance or not?)