Shadow Play

There are many stories of warlocks and witches using their shadows to do nefarious things. Using them as spies, to attack another persons shadow causing the victim physical harm, using them as something akin to a familiar, or the shadow even a physical manifesting into an agent of their vengeance. So how would a wizard accomplish this without a mystery? To me, it does not seem to be something that should be outside of the hermetic purview. It doesn't break any of the limitations so far as I can tell. But what would the form be?

Lightness Agent of Vengeance
ReIg (Mu Pe Me) 25
R: Touch T: Ind D: Sun

Detaches and turns a persons shadow into a lightless agent of the caster able to effect the physical world around it. The shadow is nearly mindless and can follow verbal and mental commands of the caster. This spell was created as a weapon by a Predo Flambeau to use in wizards wars as the shadow can slip between cracks and reach out to strike a target, though other wizards have found utility in having their shadow as a servant. The shadow cannot exist in lightless rooms and takes double physical damage from any fire based attack, but is otherwise very difficult to damage unless caught interacting with the physical world which makes parts of it wholly physical. While active the caster has no shadow and if destroyed will remain shadowless until the duration ends.

(Base: 10 wholly unnatural, +1 Touch, +2 Sun)

Here are my thoughts. Creating light is Creo Ignem, absence of light is Predo Ignem. So one way to manipulate manipulate a shadow would be Muto and Predo, primarily being rego to control function of the shadow itself. Thoughts?

If you are controlling it, I would think you would need rego
I would also tend to favor imagenem over ignem for this...

Good point, I corrected it to rego, which puts it right on par with ReCo guidelines.

I disagree with imagenem as you cannot effect physical things without the glamor mystery from house Merinita, as far as I can tell. But again, since you are manipulating the worst aspect of ignem, it seems that it would be the good candidate. In my thinking, if you wanted to create a sword made out of light, CrIg or ReIg with appropriate requisites would be the way to go. So to create something made of shadows is the worst representation of light so the same thing with a perdo req.

What I'm trying to get a feel for is how a wizard might accomplish something that is in stories that doesn't seem to violate the laws of magic.

"There are many stories of-"

Cut. Merinita Mystery. Or, heck, those people controlling shadows were probably commanding Faerie or Infernal power (rather than Magic).

I actually prefer the Imaginem option, with an Intellego requisite allowing it to perceive things as well.

Although, when I think about it, I've read a lot of those types of stories too, and actually, most of them as far as I can tell would fit an entirely different set of Arts, simply based on the thematics of what they were doing (especially the ones about using them as Familiars): ReMe or ReVi. You're not exactly controlling a shadow, but rather a Magic or Faerie (or maybe Infernal? But seems unlikely) spirit in the shape of a shadow. In the case of a Faerie, it totally could appear to actually be the character's shadow, because Faeries seem like the sort to pretend to be supernatural (but literal) shadows.

There's also a rather funny game balance issue that comes up when you talk about just pushing a shadow around: namely, one of invisibility's noted weaknesses is that you still have a shadow that an observant person could well notice. There are ways to solve it, of course, but needing to spend personal resources on doing so is part of the balancing act.

EDIT: Oh, and that "sword of light"? It wouldn't be able to cut anything either...

I'm not a big fan of making thing mysteries when it seems as if it could be done within the limits of hermetic magic to begin with. But maybe this is just one of those cases where Merinita magic is the only answer to a magus that wants to make shadows into other things. It just seems so limiting that the concept of a shadow magus can only be Merinita and only follow the Glamor path to use shadows as servants, tools, and weapons.

I don't however care much about balancing magic as long as it fits into the scope of similar spells when a level 15 spell can kill easily. Invisibility really is not as over powered as most people think it is imo. There are lots of ways around it.

I also think a sword of light could be harmful. I'm sure that some wizards have experienced the suns light burning them from being amplified by a stained glass window, or holding a mixture glass vial up to the sun on a hot summer day, and made a spell that makes light harmful, it doesn't seem like it is that far out of what a noble or magus might experience. I'd also say it falls well into the purview of ignem. The only difference between a sword of light and a sword of fire is, imo, appearance.

I think you missed the point about the magical balancing act. I'm not talking about magi countering each other, that's easy... Pretty much everything in Hermetic magic has a counter that isn't much harder to cast than the thing being countered. That's just a preparation game. I'm talking about in a wider context. But that's outside the scope of the thread.

"Ah! Your radiant sword is-... I think it's given me a bit of a sunburn. Well."

(Though the issue of sword of light/fire is easy to dodge, because having the fire appear to be radiant light would be a cosmetic effect. Actually, on that note, a sigil that all spells look as if the function was performed by a shadow pretty much satisfies your fluff requirements.)

I mean, you can make a non-House-specific Mystery for it too. Or even another tradition entirely. But Hermetic magic is functional magic, and the long and short of it is that although this doesn't defy limits (except perhaps creation, if you create permanent shadow minions), it also doesn't really make sense within the Hermetic framework (like I said, functional magic). Can it be done? Ah, sure, there's a few ways. But I can't think of any that take any fewer than five Arts, so it's beyond unrealistic for most or all magi.

One way to do handle it might be to give a shadow magus both the Side Effect virtue and the Warped Magic flaw, where the extra effects (both good and bad) combined with the magus' "normal" sigil make every one of his spells "shadow magic".

For actual "shadow magic" spells, instead of the above, maybe you could divide it into 2 separate types with different strengths/weaknesses. Pe(Re)Ig and ReIm(Me), where the former is more the "icy shadow" type (and doing cold damage), with the latter more a "darkness and fear" variety (relying on psychosomatic effects for damage). For those times when you need accompanying InIm sensing and an AC, some kind of charged item used in conjunction with the spell maybe (like a fine dust that floats within the shadow)?

How about this..
If the spell was to conjure and/or control an animal to do your bidding then we'd find the arts apply really well. It would still be a complex spell effect if the animal was to understand complex instructions, but clearly Rego (whatever). The trick is the shadow can't really affect anything.

And we can have Muto effects to turn objects from three dimensions to two, or making them intangible; so making an image gain the properties of another chosen form so it can affect the world materially shouldn't need a virtue. It needs a Mu and (form) requisite. Objects and animals can also be granted the intelligence of man.
Like a shadow into shadow-smoke, or water, or mud... or humanoid.

So the effect is transforming a shadow then controlling it, or vice versa. MuIm/ReCo or perhaps a Rego base, maybe Mentum too. If you're using Shadow as a form of Ig then throw that in instead, but Inaginem seems a better fit.

Base effect ?, no idea, but the complexity and requisites will demand a few mags, and it is certainly an "unnatural" change.
Perhaps this should be more than one spell effect given the complexity. One to separate the shadow into a tangible form, and another to grant it viable sentience to follow instructions.
And don't forget to plonk an arcane connection in there if you want to follow and change commands.

Would it not be a level 40 (Level 25 and an additional +5 per requisite)?

I made one elder Flambeau (Perdo specialist) who after a nasty Twilight episode involving the Infernal, woke to find that his shadow was different somehow. He spent a lot of time working on it and eventually enchanted his shadow as his familiar. It was a mix between a spirit (his own) and a bit of infernal influence and part of the Hermetic process to make a familiar. It had its own set of cords (like the Ashen cord for example) that provided some benefits, but all of them also tended to bring about more sinful personality traits.

The discovery couldn't be replicated as the shadow destroyed the notes, and he grew to speaking in the third person as both himself and his shadow, and also had become very fearful of it.

My first thought was the shadow magic sounds like a glamor because it really fits the bill.

This kind of thing in various stories always looks like spirit magic of some kind. Spirit magic is very much within the purview of standard Hermetic capabilities; you don't need mysteries to compel faeries or summon up dark spirits. There are certainly mysteries that help with this, but they're not a hard-and-fast requirement.

The Goetic Sorcerer probably has an easier job of doing this kind of magic, but that's because it's also the sorcerer's schtick.

This is (at least) two separate effects. Shadow manipulation is explicitly called out as an Ignem effect, not Im.

Steal Another's Shadow
Rego Ignem 30
R: Voice D: Sun T: Part
Detaches the target's shadow and moves it to the caster. The shadow still mimics the target's motions. (Based on The Captive Voice, ReIm 25. Captive is base 4, which in Ignem would be 'slightly unnatural'. Seems a bit weirder than that but not all the way to very unnatural, so call it base 5) Also comparing Captive Voice and Image From the Wizard Torn, looks like an Arcane Connection is required if the image/sound/shadow leaves the caster's sight, but taking someone else's shadow and keeping it with you shouldn't need one.

Then there is letting the shadow manipulate the physical world.
The Shadow's Touch
Mu Ig(Te) 25
R: Touch D: Sun T: Indiv
Makes a shadow solid. If it matters, the shadow is Str -3, Sta -3, Dex 0, Qik +3, all other n/a
Base 10 (turn shadow into unnatural terram thing. Using terram as the 'generic physical stuff' Art. Auram might work if there is a guideline for an Ars M version of Aerial Servant)

What is hard for Hermetic magic is the 'act without constant control/concentration by the caster', 'act out of sight of the caster', and 'understand commands'. I think that requires a spirit. Not sure about the details, but here is a first guess:
Summon a Shadow Spirit
ReIg Gen
R: Touch D: Sun T: Indiv
Summons a spirit to occupy the touched shadow. Spirit's might = Spell level - 15
Base General (summon a spirit of ignem, +1 range, +2 duration)

Now all that said, one drawback is you need penetration to affect a wizard, to get through any wards, and maybe to enter a Dominion or Infernal aura (places where you would have had a casting penalty if you cast the spell there??) And I would probably rule that a lightless room breaks the spell - being in there momentarily gets rid of the shadow the spirit is occupying so it's binding fails.

I think for a Hermetic Magus, it would make more sense to grab the shadow, and then use it as an Arcane connection to cast any curses and punishments desired. Which gives a question, is a shadow a single thing that is a part of a person (AC decades), or does it go away and come back as a new 'thing' when lighting changes or when you go through a lightless area (AC Hours)?

As far as shadow familiar, I'd make you find a shadow spirit first or have your shadow awakened by a very weird twilight episode, then after the binding it could use your shadow. I would suggest Houses: Mystery cults, check out the Bjornaer anima mystery on page 32 & 33. That discusses making your heartbeast into a shadow, probably the closest idea I've seen.

where is shadow manipulation explicitly called out as an ignem effect?

It's not. But shadows are generally accepted to be Ignem.

light (and by implication shadow) is both ignem and imagenem. SpoonR stated specifically

while to me manipulating what a shadow does seems to be straightforward imaginem, so I was asking him to site where he gets his claim of explicit calling out from.

I'll just cite the main book for now. If there is more info anywhere else, I would expect either Societates or Art & Academe. Oh, I think there is a demon-touched character in Magi of Hermes who specializes in creating darkness.

139, overview of Ignem Spells: Light & heat fall within the domain of this form, followed by a mention/reminder that cold is an absence of heat.
143, overview of Imaginem Spells: It does mention that shadow is a perception as part of a list including color, taste, etc. I didn't notice that before. Given the text around it though, it seems to be more referring to dark colors, not darkness as such.
146, perdo imaginem guidelines: "...shadows are due to the physical body blocking the light. Destroying something's shadow is thus Creo Ignem, or possibly Rego Ignem, not Perdo Imaginem

CrImag spell Phantasmal fire: specifically says that it illuminates. Interesting
Oh hey, The Shadow of Human Life. Creates an image of a person (not a shadow) with limited intelligence. Tweaking that spell should let you give intellect to a shadow.
Prying eyes: Only lets you see images inside a room, it doesn't make light or let you see in darkness.
And of course the various invisibility spells.
Image from the wizard torn: The bit about it appears as if illuminated by light falling on the caster.

Summarizing how I understand it:
CrIgnem lets you create sourceless light, or a flame that naturally gives off light.
CrImaginem let you create images, which act as light
PeIgnem destroys light, so it makes a place truly dark
PeImaginem destroys images, which are created by light but aren't light. A shadow is not part of an object's image, and an object blocks light but not images, hence Imaginem can't do anything to the shadow.

Personally, trying to wrap my head around this image theory gives me headaches (I think part of it said something along the lines of you see by emitting rays from your eyes). See either A&A or Soc for more detail. I would suggest your game group agree on what tech/forms are needed to Create, Know, Control, Change, and Destroy shadows, and then treat shadows as discrete 'objects' that just happen to fall under a weird mix of forms. Sort of like how Ice was Aquam with Terram req in an earlier edition, and steam was Aquam with Ignem req, but in this edition ice is just pure Aquam.

Ow. :open_mouth: If you want more info, I can dig through my other books sometime later, but this should get you started.

The problem is that Artes and Acadame states pretty specifically that your understanding is wrong, in that images are conveyed by species as per the medieval model rather than by light as in the modern method of comprehension. So CrIg could destroy a shadow by illuminating it, but making a shadow appear to dance could still be ReIm. Actually there is an issue in that PeIm cannot make a shadow invisible- after all it can make a human invisible, clothing invisible, an animal or rock invisible, the inability to make a shadow invisible with Im spells appears to be based on the fact that a shadow is simply not a valid target for magic in the first place... rendering the whole conversation rather pointless.

My magus is try to either integrate shadow magic into Imaginem or invent a new form adequate to handle shadow magic, so I am following this discussion with a keen interest to propose something coherent to my troupe.

To come back to the inital topic, hermetic magic is notoriously bad a doing several thing with one single spell (and piling requisit is not the solution). In this case, transforming a part of a magus into an immaterial medium which can travel and perceive around him, and second having said immaterial body interact with the physical world.
Usually, when an hermetic spell allows to cancel itself, it does not allow to reactivate it (ex: Silent Sigil).

So I believe the only way to go around is to have at least two spells:
First effect, to make the shadow can either be based on Thorn Image of the Wizard - requiring a Arcane connection to travel with the shadow. Instead of the magus image travelling it will be its shadow, but it will serve more or less the same function, albeit probably more discrete.
Alternatively, it could be a MuCo(Im) base effect 30 to turn the body of the magus into an immaterial shadow.

Then there will be a second effect which will have to be cast each time the shadow will be trying to interact with the physical world. It should be a Mu Im or Ig (depending on your take on which forms gouverns shadow)' since you are changing the propertie of the target, turning it from immaterial to physical (I find it similar to changing density of an object to make it lighter or heavier).

What is sure is that in our game we won't have an effect which allow to be cancelled or trigger at will within the duration of a single spell (in this case being immaterial most of the time and able to interact with the physical world at will). The reason is that as far as we know, no such spell exists - not because we find it overpowered or unbalanced, since there are far more powerful effect you can achieve at similar magnitude.

There have been several threads on this subject. It seems that Hermetic Magic just can't deal with shadows very easily.

One thought.
It's been mentioned that one of the easiest way's to for a magus to have a shadow servant is to just use magic to control some sort of magical shadow spirit. If you have such a critter in your game what form should it be associated with. It doesn't seem entirely right to say that because shadow and darkness are the antithesis of Light that it's might should be from the form that generates light. Or maybe it does. Extend the thought out to other forms

A drought spirit would be Aquam
A blight spirit Herbam
A cold monster Ignem also
But an Ice monster might be Aquam
A magical creature personifying human death Corpus
Both Madness or Foolishness should be Mentem
A beast of Vacuums, the Horror Vacui if you will, Auram

Some of them fit, but other not as much.