Similar Spells

Please give me your examples of spells that you think are "similar spells", as defined on ArM5 p. 101, and examples of spells that you think might be similar in a general sense, but are not "similar spells" in the technical sense. Cases where you think it is not clear would also be helpful.

The ultimate goal of this thread is to get a clearer definition, but I want to get a sense of the range of opinions first.

Mmk, here's my interpretation. Note that I use "victim" to describe the subject of damaging Creo spells to avoid ambiguity about the word "target". Where the Target of the spell is the harmful or damaging thing created, the victim is the unlucky creature you're inflicting it upon.

Similar spells can be either of two things: same effect at different RDT, or closely related effect at same RDT. Same/different RDT is (I hope!) unambiguous, so let's take a look at same/closely related effect.

I would consider two spells to have the same effect if (1) they use the same guideline (2) to accomplish the same thing.

  • BoAF variants that create and throw fireballs, create and throw fire spears, or simply create fire at the victim's location, are all the same effect: they use the Base 25 "Create a fire doing +30 damage" guideline to create a single base Individual's worth of flame and deal fire damage (of an amount appropriate to the fire created) to a single victim.
  • BoAF variants that add magnitudes for Size to create a bigger fire (to hit multiple victims or whatever) are not the same effect.
  • BoAF and PoF are not the same effect; they use different guidelines.
  • DEO5 and DEO20 are the same effect; they use the same guideline to accomplish the same thing.
    • (Yes, this is silly, but this is an issue with General guidelines, not Similar Spells, imo.)
  • DEO5 and Faerie's Eternal Oblivion 5 are not the same effect.

I don't have an explicit rule for my opinions on "closely related effects". I would for sure consider:

  • any damaging Creo Ignem spell closely related
  • any might-stripper (even of different realm and magnitude) closely related
  • Re(non-Vim Form) Wards Against Form Creatures Of One Realm (Ward Against Faeries of the Mountain, etc) spells closely related if they have either a realm or a Form in common. I would not consider Ward Against Faeries of the Mountain closely related to Ring Of Warding Against Spirits, as they have neither realm nor Form in common.
  • Any non-Ignem ReForm personal wards that work by granting absolute immunity to harm from a particular substance (Repel the Wooden Shafts, etc) are closely related, even if from different Forms, but none of them are closely related to Ward Against Heat and Flames or any other ward that works by granting a Soak bonus to specific sources of damage.

Honestly, I kind of liked the "the Similar Spells bonus is pretty small, you should just err on the side of generosity and not worry about it" ruling of the current ArM5 core book, but I can see how if you plan to involve it in Spell Mastery it would have enough power/importance attached to need nailing down specifics.

I'll have a think, but at first glance that list of "closely related effects" is basically mine too.

I think I'd add that, to me, the Cause a Wound with Perdo spells are all similar, and erring on generosity I'd count Cause a Light Wound with PeAn as similar to Cause a Medium Wound with PeCo, but I think it's arguable that they're only similar if they're the same Wound level or only within the same Form..

I mostly agree with ThePsyborg except I don’t see spells affecting separate realms with, otherwise, the same guideline, as similar spells. (RDTs being equal, of course.)

We did make a call in two different groups the same way, which may not be shared by all groups. We consider spells affecting elemental creatures (RoP:M 133 guidelines) to be covered by the similar spells bonus, in the same way as a "closely related effect", provided the Range, Duration and Target is the same. We made an explicit call that the Size of the elementals was part of the target for the purpose of deciding if the similar spell bonus applies. I suspect if there was a character genuinely interested in the guidelines found for spell spirits (RoP:M 111), we would rule the same way, and for the Intellego (Form) guideline - would require the same base guideline accross forms.

Primarily because of the "err on the side of generosity" advice, I would consider any CrMe spell that follows one of the guidelines of the form "Increase one of a person's mental Characteristics by one point, to no more than +X" to be similar to any other spell following one of those guidelines. The same would be true of CrCo spells for physical Characteristics. I expect that mileage varies on this one.


Nah, those are pretty blatantly similar imo, no noteworthy generosity required.

See, that is where I get some confusion from. Where for something like [Attribute] people would have not problem considering them similar but for something like [Realm] they are against it.

Overall I am of the view that if everything about the spell is the same except for something like [Attribute], [Realm], [Skill], [Species], [Location], etc then the spells are similar.


I agree with this. I also rather like thepsyborg's shared realm or form idea.

I don’t like different characteristic improvement spells being similar but it makes more sense to me than the realms since the realms each represent something completely different and a link to a completely separate world with very different laws and reasons for being. The different Characteristics all stem from the same thing, that person, animal, whatever.

No, but they are similar. They have the same parameters and have closely related effects (identical save only Realm) and technically use the same guideline, at the same level.

I'd be much less happy to be asked if DEO 5 and FEO 10 were similar though.

You might want to look into the research of Conciatta (Legends of Hermes, p. 12-45)?

Of course they're similar. I even said so like three lines down.

although apparently I lean slightly more generous than you do, as I have no compunctions about differing realm+magnitude for identical effect+identical guideline counting as closely related, whereas you're at least a bit conflicted about varying magnitude still counting.

My apologies, that somehow slipped my attention.

I have traditionally tried 1) to be as close to the letter of the rule as possible, since for years we were playtesting, making it necessary (IMAO) and 2) to involve my troupe whenever there was even a hint of doubt. Not always succefully mind you :wink:

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I love Conciatta’s breakthroughs but they say nothing about how these spells are without those breakthroughs.

Before her breakthroughs, Vim could only effect the Magic Realm.

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I was speaking of her later breakthroughs but yes, the earlier ones are nice as well.

Her later breakthroughs would not change RAW, since they are possible effects and changes that can happen during play. Meanwhile her earlier breakthroughs are the source of how Vim works by RAW.

Since we are discussing something in RAW, this is why I felt that was what @Tellus was referring to.

You seem to see narrative similarities because might uses the same scale but each sort of might has a very different mechanical and narrative reason for existing so sensing one form of might is very different than sensing another. The same, in my mind, goes for sensing or otherwise affecting various things from each realm such as regio boundaries, auras, etc.

Actually, this is the more problematic part for a few reasons. The other way is more of a judgement call and harder to quantify, sure. But consider these:

The rules for Aegis of the Hearth combined with other canon books require size not to be part of R/D/T since those cannot be altered. This is because there are two canonical covenants with boundaries significantly, like 200-300%, bigger than allowed by Boundary, not just a little bigger like 20% that might be rounded away.

Meanwhile, all the rulebooks containing extra magnitudes for size agree that extra magnitudes for size do not change the Target. Look everywhere and the Target is still "Individual" or "Group" or similar, not "Individual +1" nor "Group +1" nor similar. This is in agreement with the issue surrounding Aegis of the Hearth.

However, many people consider extra magnitudes for size to be part of Target, which is not unreasonable because they modify Target specifically. If extra magnitudes for size are part of Target, then adding magnitudes for size would be the same effect with a R/D/T variation. So you are unlikely to find agreement here.

These drive me nuts. These are arbitrary punishments for the less-experienced or less-math-savvy player. Consider two players playing similar magi in the same saga. I have Magus A. A new player has Magus B.

Magus B invents these three spells:
Ball of Abysmal Flame
Ball of Dreadful Flame (CrIg 30) (Identical to above except its rules read "A ball of flame shoots from your hand to strike a single target, doing +25 damage.")
Balls of Terrible Flame (CrIg 35) (Identical to above except its rules read "Ten balls of flame shoot from your hand to strike up to ten targets, doing +20 damage each." and use Group.)

Magus A invents three spells:
Ball of Unfathomable Flame (CrIg Gen) (Identical BoAF except its rules read "A ball of flame shoots from your hand to strike a single target, doing +(level-10) damage.") This is invented at both levels 30 and 35.
Balls of Unfathomable Flame (CrIg Gen) (As the prior one, but using Group and so doing +(level-20) damage.) This is invented at level 35.

So, this other player and I have identical spells, varying in only two ways: their names and how we chose to write the damage, even though they do the same damage. We should expect the game effects to be the same, right? After all, I'm just an experienced player who likes formulas rather than a new player. But, alas, no. All of mine are similar to each other, so I get a bunch of bonuses for Similar Spells and General spells, while the new player doesn't. Why does the new player get punished? Because the new player doesn't know we place so much value on writing a formula versus writing the results the formula gives.

Think this is just a whimsical thought? Nope. We're even seeing it in canon with Wizard's Vigil v. Day of Communion.

This issue is exacerbated by the three different ways of writing out such patterns in the core book. We have cases (CrIg, MuCo, etc.) where specific values are listed as different guidelines. We have cases (MuIg, PeIg, etc.) where one specific value is listed and an adjustment is given for extra magnitudes. We have cases (MuAu, PeVi, etc.) where a single, general formula is given.

Some people solve this with only allowing same effect/General spells with "general" guidelines. First, this disagrees with General spells. Second, this creates a new arbitrariness. For example, the new player doesn't know that CrAq attack spells provide tons more Similar Spell and General spell bonuses than do CrIg attack spells. "Oh, sorry, you should have known when creating your CrIg Flambeau even though you never played before."