Sense the Gift

Afternoon all

IMS we have a magus with the virtue Sense the gift. It originally a 4th ed virtue from the Wizards Grimoire and was rated at +1.

When we converted to 5th ed we kept it as +1.

The description of how it works is quite vague and we simply decided that at a reasonable range, our magus could see the gift as a kind of glimmer about a person.

This worked fine for us for a long time. He periodically took long trips across the country hanging out in towns and cities and keeping his eyes peeled for gifted kids that he could then use as apprentices or flog off to other magi.

Last week we got to our first real problem with it. The party had confronted an enemy magus and were bantering with what they thought was the real deal but was in fact a complex illusion.
Later they got into a scrap with another mgaus who had swapped his image with that of a shield grog.

Now our magus' player pointed out that his sense the gift should see through both deceptions as in both cases, the illusion and the "masked" grog would not be glimmering to him. I can see where he is coming from here too.

This however seems too powerful for a level +1 virtue (minor virtue in 5th ed) and doesn't seem to be how the authors intended sense the gift to work.

Now we are working out what we are going to do with it in our sage but i'm curious if anyone else has every used sense the gift and if they encountered any problems.

How would you rule on its use?

What about he needs to scan actively to detect it?

In the rhine tribunal book the flambeau perdo archmagus has this same power: it is called "Snif the Witch" in his case, and he can detect the gift onm a person with the equivalent of a level 20 Intellego Vim spell. Hwe has to invoque the power, though. It is not an automated detecting device.

A Perception + Alertness roll of 6+ should suffice. 3+ for blatant gift, and 9+ for gentle gift. Sounds right?



I see two possible problems with this sensing - both relating to parma...

  1. The sense might need to penetrate MR to see anything (not sure about this - I'm no expert on magical senses)

  2. Parma was originally designed to keep out the feelings produced by the gift (ignoring the social penalties it gives). Could this cause problems when trying to feel the gift through it?

I think that when compared to many other fifth ed minor virtues your more generous interpretation of sense the gift still appears to be quite weak.

Look at:
book learner
inventive genious
affinity with rego
minor magical focus
minor magical potency
verditius elder runes ( :open_mouth: , this one was a screw up in my opinion)

I always thought that blocking the feeling of the gift was a byproduct of parma, not the original intent. Parma is called parma because it is a SHIELD: What it blocks is those BOAFs coming your way.

It only blocks the reception of the Gift, not the emission so it would be quite crappy as a method of socialization.... (in fact, it is). That rule is simply there to prevent magi having problems among them while puting the creeps out of the other human beings. Parma is a shield to save your arse, not make you a more jolly fellow. :slight_smile:



So to detect if an enemy have the gift you must actually concentrate to lower your parma ? In a potentially lethal situation ? Against an ennemy magus ?
Dangerous use. Pretty reckless in my opinion.

Rule out that the detection don't take 1 round, but several to sense the gift. So in combat, several rounds without parma is pretty dangerous. Outside of combat well i'd leave a smart use pass.

P.S. Oh, and it's still against the code. Magical spying against a fellow magi and stuff. (Doesn't hold much against the quaesitores through)

The one i was comparing it too was second sight. Which requires a roll, has an associated skill to act as an xp sink and still won't tell you if the guy is gifted or not. Although it does let you see ghosts.

As for the Parma being a problem, i don't think parma would stop it. After all, it is a magical sense picking up on radiated "giftiness". After all only YOUR parma stops you feeling the effects of the gift but it doesn't stop you using magical senses.

Sounds a fine argument to me.. .. if he takes a virtue to be able to spot the gift, he -should- be immune to people masquerading as mages. It's not overpowering.. it's just a benefit that wasn't expected.

I likewise think that this could be anlagous to Second Sight or maybe Entrancement. Attach an ability to it and have him make PER+Ability roll to succeed. Target numbers seem fair.

Further, you could make it easier to detect the more Warped a target is or the more agitated the target is. Harder if they are calmer or are very active (like running from the gang of kids that don't like him.



I think the parma ought to interfere with it and agree that it ought to be something he has to focus on for a little while-- a minute or so, perhaps, not just a blinkGiftSenseOn "Oh, you've got the Gift!" blinkiftSenseOff kind of thing, which would limit its usefulness in combat.

hope that helps.


Yup, I would make it simple.

Just as Enchanting Music or such, Sense the gift must penetrate MR, or at the very least get a penalty from Vim Magical Resistance.

So, an illusion of a magus would appear giftless, but so would probably the real magus.

And yes, it should take several rounds of concentration. Nothing bothering in general, but pretty difficult in combat. The ability would still be very usefull... For detecting gifted children (or hedge wizards).

Hedge wizards don't have magic resistance? Even a little? I know they don't have Parma, and I'm OK with that, but I would have thought they would have a little natural resistance, not unlike Form scores.

Recognizing that something might be covered by NDA due to some hints out there, let me make sure the question is "How do you do Hedge Wizard MR in your saga?"


The old stuff on the Order of Odin/Norse runes from the Lion of the North (Serf's Parma) supplement could give a Vikti a very low MR, something like an MR of 2-12ish, but nothing decent, certainly nothing that a Hermetic magus casting in his speciality couldn't overcome, and feasibly something he could overwhelm spontaneously. The Finnish wind magi didn't have anything detailed, and I don't remember anything for any of the witches I saw outlined.

That's the thing about the Parma. It gives the Order all the cards... there's a reason there's really only the Order, and you get to join or die-- you don't stand much of a chance of fending off the Order. Yes there are some exceptions-- sahir in moorish lands outside the generally accepted borders of the Order, the Order of Sulieman [kabballists] in Iberia, maybe the possibly nonexistant Order of Odin... but these are exceptions. The Order of Sulieman is the only group to ever fight the Order of Hermes to a standoff, and I don't believe this part of canon has yet been addressed in 5E.

But that being said... the Parma, and its universal magic resistance, were what made the Order of Hermes possible...the fact that such a breakthrough didn't exist before is why no organization had really risen prior to Bonisagus. He allowed magi to gather without fear of someone blasting you to take your stuff and your research. If you give magic resistance out to the hedgies who aren't part of the Order of Hermes, well, you get rid of a big reason for the Order in general.


I don't really have a problem with the use of sense the gift against gifted individuals, or at speed, indeed i think it should be a lot quicker than some are suggesting. Our magus tends to fly round cities looking for gifted kids. And this seems like a great use of it.

The problem i have is with it potentially being able to see through invisibility or rego imaginem images.

i.e. if jim the magus shifts his image 5 feet to his left, should the magus with sense the gift be able to see the glimmer where the mage really is, or where his image is?

Likewise if jim the magus goes invisible, shouldthe magus with sense the gift allow him to detect the glimmer from hidden jim?

I'm seeing it as a question of species. If it is transmitted with visual species then invisibility should fool it. If it works with a new kind of species that is only picked up "mystically" then invisibility shouldn't fool it.

Make him have to concentrate to perceive it, or having to be in its presence for a while to detect it casually. SG fiat.

If a magus is trying to hide you can assume (SG fiat as well) that he will be able to displace his "giftness" as well, and that only by concentrating you can detect him.

However, I wouldn't do the later. It is a really small area where it affects magic: only cases where the magus tries to affect himself with Imaginem magic to hide himself or cases where he says "I am not a magus" while trying to ReMe you. Small chance you as SG cannot think of other ways for the bad guys to circumvent this ability of the group if you want to. :slight_smile:



As 'the mage in question' obviously i'm slightly biased in this, but my thinking is that:

Exuding the gift is the price we pay for having it. If all it took was a very simple illusion or invis spell to overcome the side effects of exuding the gift, then Gentle Gift wouldn't be a major virtue, and every mage would simply hide their gift when dealing with mundanes.

Mundanes and even animals have a basic version of Sense the Gift, that's why we don't get to ride horses, and why angry mobs gather up their pitchforks when we're around. They don't have to concentrate to spot we're gifted, it liberally spills out of us and upsets them.

If mundanes can Sense the Gift for free, then a magus actually taking it as a virtue should have a far more powerful version, and not one that needs them to concentrate, or roll to succeed. We can do what the mundanes and animals can do, but better.

As a mage you know all about the gift, you don't just see a freaky kid and think.. that guy makes me shudder, I should probably go raise a mob. You see him and you know why he exudes that creepy feeling, what it is, and what it means.

In conclusion, if a horse without the virtue can sense the gift without having to roll for it, then a mage with the virtue can do it so much better.
And if hiding the gift was as simple as a simple spell, all mages would be doing it, and Gentle Gift wouldn't be a virtue, nevermind a major one. Just as Blatant Gift wouldn't be a flaw.

Hiding the gift through magical means sounds more like a hemetic breakthrough to me than a spell.


I agree with a lot of your arguement, particularly about hiding it being a Breakthrough.

As an aside, think of how wealthy your mage could get if you made that breakthough... At five pawns per copy of the seminal Parma or MT tractatus, by, say, 500 magi ... it boggles.

Anyway, the question I have though, is how would one treat "Touched By Magic", "Magical Air", "Infernally Tainted?", "Offensive to Animals" and the like? From my view, the PER+Ability (or maybe just a straight Perception test), would allow you to (a) eliminate false positives and false negatives, and (b) allow you a chance of detecting the Gentle Gift.

If we go with the straight virtue as you suggest, and I agree it is workable AS you suggest, I would also argue that the Gentle Gift is entirely imperceptable to a minor virtue and that there are enough other flaws that would give you a number of false positives and negatives. Adding the Ability and the test allows for more accuracy without raising it to a Major.


Also, you could make a Major version that eliminates false results AND allows detection of the Gentle Gift.


My two cents,