Scrying Tools: Mirrors, Orbs, Fires

Lately, I've been thinking of magic mirrors, scrying orbs, magical fire... you get the idea: Something displaying images, and maybe sounds, of what happens in a faraway place.

How can one do this with spells?
(Assuming one always use Intangible tunnels when useful)

Scrying is easy. Intellego Imaginem allows this in 2 different fashions:

  • Target one of your senses and move it somewhere, to see/hear/smell... from that point.
  • Use one of the regular ArsM targets, to perceive it, but nothing else.

All this is good and well, but there is a fatal design flaw: These spells move your senses elsewhere, they don't display things that happen there.

This could, IMO, be "solved" by a feature in the spell, in which it appears to you as if the images are coming from the nearest reflective surface, but actual display is something more, since it allows the sharing of information and lets you stay aware of your surroundings.
More, now that I think about it, it lets you do things like cctv for grogs, shifting easily from multiple points of view. I wouldn't give that for free.
And just slapping a CrIm requisite doesn't do the trick IMO, since you essentially have 2 different effects (spy + create image) with at least 2 different targets (the scrying target, possibly a sense, and the image being created).
=> It feels like the answer is an item with 2 effets, and a linked trigger: An InIm to scry, a CrIm to display the images.

But this is not what I want, and is quite expensive for something that should be simple.

I can see an experimentation yielding a spell which requires a mirror or scrying tool in exchange for the "display" factor, something kinda non-hermetic, then, but aside from that, it seems to be quite difficult save through a Greater Enchanted item :sob:

Crap, this CCTV got me thinking...
Have a bunch of stationary circle high enough (Rego flight effect made constant). With an AC to these, you can use them to look at a location from above, as if you had a spy satellite. And with an effect like Eyes of the Eagle, this becomes very effective :slight_smile: .

Since I want to make the image from there appear here, could Rego Imaginem do the trick?
I could spy on a room by making their species appear elsewhere. This would normally just move them around, like with Image of the Wizard torn, but making them appear inside a mirror grants little, so I'd allow that for free. There's just one little problem: The targets would become invisible/mute/whatever, making it obvious to them that they are targeted by magic :frowning:

But, back to my satellites ideas. Now, this is a place where Rego Imaginem could actually work!
If I put a bunch of circular mirrors up in the sky, I can have a linked mirror who, also with Ring duration, move the image reflected in the first mirror to my "scrying" one. Not very useful save for spying on armies, but at least, it works!
If I have an AC to a mirror someplace, I can do the same trick. It works, but is not very subtle or effective, especially compared to "normal" Intellego Imaginem. At least, I can use this to set up cctv for the covenant.

Example Spell:
The Eyes of (insert proud magus name) ReIm 40
Base: 15, +2 for moving images, +1 touch, +2 Ring/Circle
Moves the image reflected in a mirror to another, to which you have an arcane connection.
High level, but this has enough advantages that this doesn't bother me much.

But back to scrying tools.
Looking at it another way. Are there spells that do what I want?

Well... IIRC, there is "Enchantment of the Scrying Pool". Sadly, this is a Special spell, with very non-hermetic properties.
Serf's parma (And It took me weeks just to write this single post!), but this is the only example I can think about. Have I missed something?

Hey, the "move image from a mirror" above gave me an idea about a way this might work using Rego Imaginem.
While I can't see a way for Rego Imaginem to scry using a mirror/orb/fire as it is, I've been subconsciously limiting myself to standard hermetic targets.
But this doesn't need to be the case (See Arm p114). So maybe I can use these to do something similar to the "move the reflected image in a mirror to another mirror" trick?

Let's say:
Target: Walls (+3 magnitudes, target based on Room): This targets anything that reaches the walls of a room. By itself, this could allow you to move the species that reach the walls without it being noticeable, letting you scry as if you were on a wall. Add 1 magnitude for complexity to "zoom out", and you could move these "inside" an orb or fire, turn it around... Nice.
But it won't work. The base effect would be level 25 (15 for AC, +2 for changing image), it quickly gets into Ritual territory.

Now, I can emulate a "point of view" by having a custom target based on part, to move every species that reach a specific part of an item. This would allow things like "head cameras" on the helms of grogs.

Example Spell:
The Tactician's Eye ReIm 45
Base: 15, +2 for moving images, +1 touch, +1 concentration, +2 special target based on Part
Moves the species that reach the front of a grog's helm to a mirror to which you have an arcane connection. The images are displayed as if looked at from there.

Let's consider this as working. This is doable, but barely. Very high level spell compared to the Intellego equivalents. I'm glad that this is harder than just directly moving your own senses, but it shouldn't be that hard.

So, maybe... Muto Vim?
If I can cast a InIm spell to move my sight and hearing to another place, I can use a "Significantly change a spell" to make the target the mirror's senses.
While I can see that working just fine for the visual component, the audio is more in doubt.
This does not bother me much for a scrying mirror, much more for an orb/pool/fire (yes, this is purely subjective)

Example Spell:
Shifting the Blame MuVi 40
Base 20gen, +1 touch, +2 sun, +0 individual, +1 change of target
This spell targets an imaginem sensory spell of level 25 or less, shifting its recipient, who must be a somewhat valid target for the spell. This is often used to allow mirrors to display visual species from a faraway place.

Likewise, this is hard, but less so, and with a better duration.

And here I am.

Any ideas, suggestions, help? Have you done something like this in your game? How?

Didn't have the time to read all the design in the post.

But what about the not quite Hermetic ArM5 p.122 InAq(Im) 30 Enchantment of the Scrying Pool - and having many natural bodies of water in and around your covenant? "A number of theoreticians would like to make that work more generally, but so far this has not proved possible."

There are several spells and enchanted items across RAW that do it with CrIm, displaying things or areas they have an Arcane Connection to.

"Soothe the Mother's Anxiety" MoH, p. 24 is an invested device, using an InIm effect to detect noise which activates the CrIm effect to display everything in the room with the arcane connection on the mirror. It displays images and sound.

"Eternal Repetition in a Bottomless pool" Cov, p. 101 is a spell, using CrIm that displays a book (usable for study/copying) on a mirror, using arcane connection.

"Haunt of the Living Ghost" in AM5, p. 144 is another spell, using Cr(In)Am with also projects your image so that it is not considered scrying. The see and hear part of the spell would only be level 15 without the added modifiers for projecting the image. Those include +1 intricacy (projects your image to a mirror, with your senses from said mirror), +2 to animate your image, and +1 Intellego (the senses are beamed directly to you, rather than displayed through a medium).

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"Enchantment of the Scrying Pool" is not quite Hermetic because of the odd way it using the water in the pool as an Arcane Connection to all other open/pools of water within a 500 mile range. This has the advantage of not needing a fixed Arcane Connection, but requires a ritual and a non-hermetic effect.

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The ritual is certainly needed because of its D: Year (see ArM5 p.112). Whether it would need to be a ritual with another Duration is not clear - as usual with not quite Hermetic effects.

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True, non-hermetic effects always make it difficult to figure out if the base is a ritual or not. Though the closest other non-hermetic effect spell to that one I could find is The Scrying Pool (ML, p. 98) which is also a ritual while having a R/D/T of A/C/I.

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The "Dream" art in Faerie Wizardry can make these kind of effects as well (a scrying pool is one of the example spells listed) but that's a non-hermetic effect too and has to be a ritual. It also uses sympathy instead of arcane connection, so probably works on different principles to Enchantment of the Scrying Pool (which is supposed to be based on a mercurian ritual, I think?).

But in regards to doing it with standard hermetic magic, I'm not sure I agree @The_Fixer that adding a Creo requisite is insufficient. It seems to me that a Cr(In)Im or In(Cr)Im spell should be able to do this, but with +1 magnitude as the requisite is adding an additional effect, and using the base level that would be needed to use CrIm to make such a complex image (which will be several magnitudes higher than a standard InIm spell using that many senses).

There are example Cr(In)Im spells that create illusions far away and let you use you see out of the illsuion, so it seems plausible to me that you can do the reverse and use In(Cr)Im to perceive something far away and create an illusion of what you are seeing at your own location.

I do know what you mean about it being two targets sort of - the other spells like this make the scrying effect and the illusion both happen at the place the arcane connection is to, while this has the Intellego part using the arcane connection and the Creo part happens at the caster. However, I think that such an effect isn't so unusual that it's breaking any limit of hermetic magic, it might just possibly require an extra magnitude (on top of the extra magnitude from the requisite)

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Actually, the Duration of that Scrying Pool is special, because under defined circumstances "the ritual may be prolonged for hours, days, potentially even years." So it better be a ritual indeed.

I would rather take a straight Year duration (including the added levels and Vis), since to get that spell to last a year you are looking at tying up a years worth of Magi time concentrating on it 24/7.

The special part is that it allows any of the Magi who took part in casting the ritual through Wizard's Communion to take part in the Concentration to maintain it, dropping in and rejoining as needed. That might actually be an interesting research project to integrate, though if it requires a ritual not so much.

First, thanks to everyone who's replied. I appreciate it, especially when you've taken the time to research.

As you say, non-hermetic, in no small part because it doesn't require an AC. You can just lock into any body of water you know. Definitely not hermetic.

I was trying to avoid items :frowning: .
Otherwise, sadly, this follows the course I've outlined for these: 2 effects, with a linked trigger

This is more interesting, thanks.

As far as I can tell, this could be used to spy on someone, duplicating their image, what they say, but nothing else.
I'm not sure this is correct, but it doesn't strike me as wrong.

What I'm not sure about is how this interacts with other targets.
What if, for exemple, I want to display the inside of the room, using an AC to that room?
Since this is a simple Creo Imaginem spell, the Target is the thing created (the illusion), as is the target. So this should work without any additional magnitude or change.

I've considered this, as well as the "improved" version in... whatsthename... Hermetic Projects. "Convening the Council", p44.

This is different.
In short, you have 2 effects:

  • Create an illusion of your face and voice in a mirror
  • Move your sight and hearing at that mirror's location.

The targets are the same: the mirror. Same for the Range.
IMO, there's a problem with the Target, though.
Not so much with the CrIm part, but with the InIm one. While this may works with a mirror (you perceive what's reflected in the mirror, and let's forget about sound), it doesn't really with a fire.
With Individual Target, you should get the species of the mirror/fire, not the species that reach the it.
I have no problem per se with the second idea, but it kinda changes how the spells operates.

Hum... This is probably why there's the "intricacy" modifier, not unlike a custom target based on individual, but still, this sets a bad precedent.
Pre-4Ed, this is not a big bother for Haunt of the Living Ghost (lvl 35 seems fine for what it does), but, IMO, this makes current "pure" InIm spell rather ill-devised.
For example, Palm of Seeing would be much better served with T: Ind, becoming lvl 3 instead of 15. Same for Prying Eyes (Core p144) or "Finger for Eyes" (HP p84): Why bother with T: Room if T: Ind is enough?

IMO, this is very different.
As I've written above, those share the same Range, target and Target, whereas the only example to what I want (display the results of an InIm effect) is an item with a linked trigger :frowning:

To be clear, there could be up to:

  • 2 different targets: The mirror, and the either the thing sensed (an individual, a room) or the sense projected (Your hearing...)
  • 2 different Ranges: You to the mirror, you to the thing scryed upon / point of view.
  • 2 different Targets: Individual for the images/sounds created in the mirror, and either a Sense, or possibly a Room, Room+1, you name it.

I agree that it feels like 1-2 additional magnitudes if right for this kind of effect, and, in previous editions, this is how things would have worked.
But now, I'm just not sure it is possible through formulaics spells alone, and fear the only "raw" hermetic way might be a Greater Enchanted Item :frowning:

All that being said, Hermetically speaking, do any of you see any other way?