Sand: Individual or Group?

In another thread a poster raised the issue that a pile of sand or dust should be treated as a Group of individual grains/specks. I think this issue deserves its own thread. Personally, I still think a pile of sand still counts as an Individual (though multiple piles are a Group). What about you?

I guess that as long as you have the quantity equivalent to one human being (say 100 kgs) it counts as an individual...
It would make no sense to take 1 kg sand for a group just because there are thousands of specks...

Base Individual for Sand is 10 cubic paces on page 152.
For two Perdo Terram spells , Target: Part is used , with increased magnitude from Size.
Pit of the Gaping Earth and Cascade of Rocks.

Uh... and how does this relate to the original question?

That it isnt always Target: Group if you want to affect more than a Base Individual.

I agree: for Terram an individual is a volume, not an object. THe same's true for the other elements as well, except Fire. Going the other way would mean that you can affect a clean golem but not a dusty one. Two specks of dust are not a Group.

Can you explain why CrTe Seal the Earth uses Group?

I agree that a golem is an Individual, be it dust or water, but is it because it keeps its shape?

Yes, the Individual here is the ground. But since you need to target Part of it, you get the exact same magnitude as a Creo Group for the same volume affected.

I like the symmetry between Creo and Perdo here.

A pile of sand, yeah i can probably be convinced that its Individual. But it gets a bit problematic because the sand can be dispersed any which way, if its still individual, can you control all of the original sand still, and if not, which part is the individual and which is not.

With most forms, the Individual would be the single biggest part of the original total that is still coherently together.
And that nearly always works out, but with sand and a few other things, it can get very problematic indeed.
If you´re controlling a cloud of sand in the air, how much can you disperse it before it stops being an Individual, and what if you cant actually discern which parts are still coherently together, and which such part is the biggest(ie still the individual)?

So i guess i have to lean towards using Group whenever its not a coherent amount. Ie. both individual and Group.

Thats what Intellego magic is for. You can keep track of the Base Individual.

If you actually want to count the grains of sand ,
you need the Hermetic Numerology Minor Mystery Virtue on page 91 , TMRE.
Guidelines are on page 93.


Maybe the thing that confuses people is that Terram can affect something so massive as the earth itself. If you want to affect only a limited amount of this, you need Target: Part. Because the earth itself is an Individual with a whole lotta magnitudes for size! Unless you want to affect a distinct thing: a rock lying freely on the ground, a pile of sand, a clay pot. This goes for most Perdo, Rego, Muto and Intellego. It you use Creo to create something out of the blue, it won't be Part but Individual, since it is a distinct thing to begin with. But if you create an Individual's worth of dirt to fill a hole, affecting it afterwards (like making ti hard as rock) would be T:Part since it is now part of the whole.

21, in fact, according to both what we know and Ptolemy's Almagest. Yes, a crazy Archmagus could see that as (barely) within reach.

So, assuming that the 21 for size is correct....

Touch, Instant, Individual
base 1: Whatever you fancy here. No books around here to check effects
+1 touch
+1 stone (let's forget about gems and metals)
+21 size

A spell to affect the whole earth would be level 100. Quite achievable!!! :open_mouth: If God or some other supernatural being does not intervene, that is.


So, should Seal the Earth be errata'd to CrTe10, using Individual not Group?
Or is CrTe some dirt a Group target?

Both have to match.

Ouchy... Thats totally doable really. Even if we forgot something, if its anywhere close, all you need is a strong magi with a relevant focus and it should be perfectly reachable.

Buggers, this is giving me some very evil ideas(and several more funny ones hehe). :mrgreen:

I had a similar problem when making the "Wall of Wasps" spell. Making an insect, and then making a swarm of insects based on that baseline ended up putting me in ritual territory pretty quick.

I decided to treat insects more like sand and tacking on some extra magnitudes until it felt right.

That shouldn't actually be a problem - the "Targets and Sizes" red box on page 113 of the main rules book states that "A base Group contains about as much mass as ten standard individuals of the Form. This can be split up in any way desired, so it could be two individuals, each of five times standard size, or ten individuals of standard size, or ten thousand individuals, each one thousandth of standard size." Since the base size for an animal is size +1, you should be able to get quite a lot of wasps even without magnitudes for size (although you might well need one or two extra magnitudes, depending on quite how big and waspy you want your wall to be).

I agree: just using the base Group guideline gets you not 10 wasps, but 10 ponies worth of wasps, which is really a lot of wasps (hundreds of thousands of them). That's enough to wipe out a small army.

A mass of earth (dirt, sand, clay, etc) is a Individual. To Affect a grain should be part the target.