So how big is a lightening bolt?

Show me, I've quoted the rules that support my argument. What text are you referring to. What part of the Form description points away from my interpretation and shows the Intent that lightning is a rarefied substance like acid is for auquam. What part of it's the definition of the size of the base Individual shows that auram varies like other forms. Saying you don't like rules lawyering is one thing. I'm all for going with the intent. But to me it seams you don't actually understand some very basic game concepts and that goes beyond simple rules lawyering. You keep saying that a lightening bolt is an Individual like that means something. Like you don't have to determine how the size of an Individual relates to the base Individual of the form when designing a Group spell. You seem to be saying you just get ten individuals whether your talking elephants or shrews. Or if you prefer a terram example like you miss quted me with, pea sized or melon sized gemstones.

Out of the blue is really a phrase that means unexpected not uncommon. but either way snowing indoors is both more unexpected and more uncommon then clear sky lighting. It's also for more unnatural and that is what the guideline is for. I wrote it wrong I should have said clear sky lightening is a purely natural phenomenon and their for you could argue it doesn't require any adjustment for being unnatural.

I wrote out specifically from the book the exact words written that state a Individual is a single, unus, una, unum, ONE lightening bolt. Then when adding a group modifier for target, you get ten lightening bolts. Ten. Group is ten times the Individual.

It looks like, and I might be wrong, that you are possibly thinking that since the base size of Animal is a +1 and so, if you make mice it would then be the volume of mice that would equal a +1 sized animal. Or when using Terram since the base is ten cubic paces of simple dirt and decreases in cubic size for every level up on the nobility (or is a scale of rarified substance?), that for some reason, since the base of Auram is a weather phenomenon that affects the area the size of a Boundary - 100 paces across, that this means you can make a lightening bolt the size of that base?

This may be me using a bad interpretation of what you typed, but you should realize that your posts make it look like you are using a spell to make millions of bolts of lightening strike within the size of a boundary, because you have stated that the base size of Aurum is boundary.

This is what it LOOKS like you are typing. Which IMHO is completely and totally wrong within even wiggle room for arguement, because the base for a bolt of lightening, is not volume, size, or mass, but a quantity. A number than can be counted using simple addition and subtraction of whole quantities.

Base for lightening is ONE. Group for lightening is TEN. Group, plus +1 size modifier would be One hundred bolts of lightening, each of a standard size of a typical, observed, and witnessed lightening bolt.

Lightening is not measure by volume, so it cannot be increase with size modifiers in the same was as Animal or changed in the way Terram. I tried to show with my other post about lightening that lightening is not measured by size (which yeah I was wrong on if you measured lightening as a volume). Lightening cannot be the same volume as the base Aurum form Individual.

Perhaps starting at first terms that everyone agrees on would help this argument proceed on a better path?

They do give +1 for indoors as an example, which is very very misleading. I agree with your examples for creation of lightening and no one would go wrong using them, but I would adjust the terms, for my use and perspective just a bit.

  • A large storm or dark clouds without a storm, within sight, should be natural.
  • Light clouds scattered about; or a clear night: +1 magnitude (slightly unnatural)
  • Clear sky and the lightening acts completely at your will but MUST originate from the sky, but can enter indoors or go anywhere within sight at the control of the mage: +2 magnitude (very unnatural)
  • originating lightening from a unnatural source or within a unnatural environment: +4 magnitude (divorced from natural context)

Because lightening can come "from out of the blue". Not from a completely blue sky, that is so improbable as to make it very unnatural, but if there is a storm anywhere within sight lighting can travel miles (There is a Texas example of positive charged lightening leaving a storm and traveling twenty eight miles, striking a pool house. While I would not use THIS as a standard natural example it can be used as fuel for a argument no?) I added night time, because as they say, "the night time is the right time." Weird stuff happens at night; you can get away with a +1 at night.

I agree with you completely at the point where lightening goes from being improbable to being impossible. Any source of the lightening not from the sky or any environment that cannot sustain it gets a +4 (( blew my mind with the idea of lightening underwater... I have heard about what plasma welding does underwater when shorted... lightening would be very stress inducing ))

I would say we agree more on our examples than disagree... now about my 25 pace wide lightening bolt... :blush:

"A base Group contains about as much mass as ten standard Individuals of the Form. This can be split up in any way desired, ..."

A level 45 group IoL would hit 10 targets with +30 damage, or 100 targets with +25 damage. You could reduce the level to 30 by arguing that the lightning came from the sky, but then you'd have to lower damage also. The +4 unnatural isn't for the shoot-from-hand cosmetic, but for IoL and BoAF do the same +30 at level 35.

To help with this arguement:

Bear in mind that your clouds are several miles up usually and your lightning bolt is pretty wide and several miles long so it easily could be equal to the 100 paces (which is less than 1/18th of a mile) coming down. So as a weather phenonemon, it is as big as the base size on its own.

More importantly: lightning rarely strikes so close to each other in a rapid period. So multiple bolts would add an unnatural factor of its own. The reason for the saying that lightning never strikes same place twice is because after a strike, much of the energy has been exhausted from that area and needs to build up again before striking again. Watch lightning storm outside, you see a flash maybe once every minute (twice a minute at most) and they are spread out.

If you want for your saga to rule it otherwise, you can but the collective wisdom on this board is that 1 lightning bolt is one individual for Auram and a group aurum spell is 10 lightning bolts and the texts of the book pretty much supports that. So far I have seen postings saying that from many of the primary experts on this board. For the saga for the rest of us, I think Fixer has the best summary: 1 lightning is single, 10 is group and from a completely clear sky would be +2 or +3.

I suspect it is time to close the thread since most people won't sway MAine75man from his view and the rest of us all have the opposing one.

Really? Because it says pretty plainly on the descriptor for Lvl 5 base: "create a weather phenomenon wholly divorced from it's normal context (for example, a lightening bolt springing from the caster's hands.) +4 magnitudes.:

Now maybe the creators did put that there to even the spell damage out but "so it is written, so shall it be."

As for changing what kind of bolt you make to adjust the number of bolts.... I just don't know... that's.... meh.

Ah yes but then that quote continues.

The thing you don't seem to understand is that the standard size is the base Individual listed for every form. Please read the Targets and Sizes sidebar on page 113 carefully and you will see the terms are used synonymously. Moreover the terms are synonymous in every spell I can find if you do the math. Including the errata'd Curse of the Ravenous Swarm. So no a group is ten times the base individual not just ten times a Individual But if you won't take my word for it, here from another discussion. [url]]

Sorry to quote the line editor if thats not kosher but you did pull the expert card. Some times the prevailing wisdom is not true. ONE lightning bolt IS one Individual for Auram but it is not a base individual for auram. It ISN'T the same thing. Some forms list multiple base Individuals but auram is not one of them. As always your saga your choice but the rules support my interpretation and so do those that write them. So I ask again how big is a lightening bolt because it is important.

No you have not. You have shown what you claim support it. Noone agrees.

Ill be very simple, the absence of a no does not automatically mean the answer is yes.

I fully understand the difference between Individual and base Individual. Are you trying to tell me that there's more than 1 lightning at a time affecting "the area within a standard boundary" of a 100 pace across?

Well if you are simply looking to deal with mass... a 11,000 foot bolt of lightening has roughly a total mass of .6 micrograms. Since it does not actually travel at the speed of light, it's total force, from the mass only, is about one ten-thousandths that of the force of a rain drop falling on your skin.

So ten times the mass of a full sized lightening bolt is 6 micrograms.

You just might be able to kill an ant with the mass of a lightening bolt.

What does the time have to do with it it doesn't matter how often they occur? A lightening bolt is a single discrete thing an Individual and in order to figure out how many you make with a target group spell you need to determine how big they are. Are you trying to insinuate that a lightening bolt is weather phenomenon that affects a whole 100 pace area and is therefore a base individual? Because if you are that would be an answer to my question.

You think that a Lightening bolt should be considered a base individual based on the size of the area it effects rather than then the actual size of the bolt. A few other people have said that in so many words but I don't think any have used the term base Individual. Most everyone has used the misleading term Individual which is what makes me think they have no clue what they're talking about. You realize that saying "It's an Individual you get ten in a Group" is a little like saying "It's on sale so you can get 10 for $100" there is some information missing in both statements before you can determine if they are true or not.

I must admit that it does open up the Auram base Individual to some new interpretations. I always imagined that the base individuals for auram would be all roughly the same size. A rain falling over a standard boundary is about the same size as a fog covering the same boundary a wind blowing through ect. For this reason I considered lightening significantly smaller than the base individual. After all it's only about 1 inch thick if you coiled them up and packed them in tightly you'd get millions of them into the same space said ground fog takes up (even if they don't ever occur that way in nature we are only worried about their size).

Now if you consider that the ground fog or the falling rain the blowing wind are all actually different sizes but affect the same area that makes sense and they become a sort of rarefied form like terram or aquam. But I'm still not wholly convinced that lightening should automatically be considered a base Individual just because it's listed as an Individual alongside other weather phenomena. After all there are plenty of Individuals that are not base Individuals in each form. Again you need more information. Do you really think that a lightening bolt effects an area 100 paces across. Would that really be what you would say if you weren't talking about a game of Ars Magica. How does that fit into the Medieval Paradigm. If you asked a hundred people on the street in 13th century Paris how big an area a lightening bolt effects I'm not sure that many would say an area 100 paces across. In fact most would probably say it's a lot smaller.

probably not though - them things are hardy!

Notes though this is a general rule. The specifics for a form over rule it.

So now we go to Aurum:

This gives the definition of things that are considered descrete individuals

Base individual is used when when the specific individual is not detailed by the spell.

Finally we come to the fact that we are going by medieval paradigm, medieval logic and belief

A lightning bolt is huge. It comes from up high in the heavens and blasts downward blasting a large area where it hits so it must have a good diameter and incredibly long. You can see it for miles that it could be as big as a mountain. This makes a single lightning bolt much bigger than 1 hundred paces across. It can't fit within the standard boundary and by the rules, you could say that you need to use part to affect a section of a lightning bolt with standard size.

Getting 10 lightning bolts is very generous for a group because of how large lightning really is (the fact that you have to use sight to even bring down a lightning bolt should give you a clue since it goes from sight range to the targets next to you).

Finally, you posted to this group to get our opinions and the collective wisdom of the group. You have received it and it goes against what you want. If you are looking for validation, you aren't going to get it. No one that has posted has agreed with your arguments. AGain, in your saga, you can do as you please with the rules and rulings for size. If you are playing in other sagas, you have to respect the opinions of the rest of the group as to what the rule means and says.

Anyone who has actually BEEN within 100 paces of a strong lightning strike would say far MORE. At 100 paces you can still get knocked off your feet by the shockwave.

So THAT interpretation ALSO contradicts yours. But its really very simple, Auram is different from most other Forms in that some Individuals CANT be translated into Base Individual directly.

And now that you brought up the horror of "Medieval Paradigm", do you think people thought it had any mass at all?
And the big part of what seems like width in a lightning isnt, its just superheated air.
Anyway, how do you calculate things when lightning doesnt have mass?

And then off course we have that argument of common sense(a very bad thing to bring up i know), that your arguments are just unreal because there are no such things as lightning that covers "100 paces across".
Shouldnt this at least light off some warning signals about the arguments you use?


I generally agree with ladyphoenix.

It's hard to exactly quantify the "size" of a lightning bolt: the "shiny part" may look thin, but it's very long, the thunder is part of it, the destruction it causes can be pretty large etc. It seems very reasonable to say that one "natural" lightning has a size roughly equal to a Base Individual of Auram.

You can make smaller/shorter ones, but again, it seems reasonable that what you gain from "hand tailoring" you lose to "unnaturalness" - in line with the fact that generating at ground level an effect that would normally originate in the upper air costs you in terms of "unnatural" magnitudes what you'd spare creating it high up in the sky.

Oh? Where do you see that???

And let's assume that.
I ask again: What would the +2 adjustment be good for then?
I'd add, what good is the + 4 magnitude good for too? Why bother, when you can just use the +1 mag and create a lightning anywhere, even indoor, on an ennemy's spot?

Muspelli chapter, p99, Storm's Eye Utiseta effects.
"For any storm (Ease Factor 9 or greater), adding 6 to the ease factor allows the muspelli to cause one thunderclap per point of Storm's Eye, and 3 thunderclaps can be exchanged for a lightning strike".

As an aside, It could also suggest that using ReAu to seize existing lightning to direct it at someone would require a Dex + Finesse roll of (12-size)

As an aside, there's also the mythic consideration of the lightning bolt as the supreme manifestation of the sky gods power: It is not inferior to a simple storm, on the contrary, and the Rival Magic rules, IMHO, work through this assumption: Storm < thunderclap < lightning.

Rego Ignem Guidelines (ArM 05 , page 143):

This guideline could possibly be used for lightning strike also.

I don't think basing a Finesse roll Ease Factor on Size is used in the RAW.
What if you have a size greater than +12 , or a size of -01 or less (possible with Muto)?


Yes your right. Some forms cover Individuals that don't have a size. In those cases the form description specifically tells you how to deal with that. The first time this seems to occur is for Mentem. In this description it clearly states that minds don't have a size. Then it goes on to explain specifically how to apply other targets like group or boundary. The same statement is made for Vim. For Vim though less care is taken to spell out how this applies to other targets. Presumably because it would just be repeating what was said for Mentem. Showing that the designers where aware that it is the second and last time counted Individuals are used instead of sized individuals.

The important thing is in both cases is they specifically state that Individuals for that form don't have a size. So no mind is ever larger or smaller than another. The same goes for spells and magical effects in vim. Spells may be of greater magnitude but they aren't any different in size.

Also their are two forms and only two forms Terram and Auquam that adjust the size of the base Individual based on the material your affecting. These lists are clear and spelled out. This to me though isn't really a total overruling of the general rules just an extra and easily determined variable.

Auram effects several target categories. Air in general, odors, vapors, as well as weather phenomenon. The section you are pulling your quote from is the section that clarifies the difference between a weather phenomena that is an Individual (a single discrete thing) and several related phenomena that make up a Group (closely related individuals).
So you can not create a storm with target individual because it is a group of phenomena. Note that the rules say you can still use the normal descriptions if these apply. So not all groups in Auram have to be storms and the like.

I do not understand what you mean by that. Are you trying to say that the list of Individuals for weather phenomenon is actually a list of base Individuals? Do you think those two terms are synonymous? Base Individual is a benchmark for size used in the formulae to determine size adjustments and for calculating Group, Room, or Boundary effects. It is used in all uses of the form and is synonymous with the term standard individual you just quoted above. Also except for as noted above the size of the base Individual does not vary within uses of the form. The term Individual is not interchangeable with the other two terms. An Individual may be smaller or larger than the base Individual. And your quote clearly identifies a single phenomena as an Individual.

A cloud can be both smaller and larger than one that effects an area 100 paces across. Weather phenomena have a size they must because the description for base Individual doesn't say the don't like it does for Mentem. Further more it actually lists that size right there in the description of a so I'm not merely relying on the "absence of a no". In fact the only way I can see that a weather phenomenon could be considered sizeless is by ignoring part of RAW

Sometimes it does and some times it leaves fine black tracings on the objects it hits, particularly the masts of wooden sailing ships brick buildings and trees. A lot of times it enters and exits something it hits and leaves a hole the size of a pencil. So it sounds like something that can vary in size just like all other weather phenomenon.

Yes but not in the way you think. I posted the spell because I spotted a hole in the rules that allowed for a ridicules effect created by what I felt was an oversight in the rules. Namely that the size of a lightening bolt isn't clearly identified. You can easily use the guidelines in the book in the way the book describes (by estimating the size of a lightening bolt and doing the math) to create a world ending effect.

What I wanted was some good ideas on how to answer the question "How big as a lightening bolt" And you know there where some good answers. I like the lightening bolt is bigger than it looks argument. Though I'm still not 100% certain you shouldn't get more then 10 not millions but a enouph to cover a small area. I also like the idea of measuring weather phenomenon's size only by their area of effect. Though you still have to apply the lightening is bigger then it looks theory IMOHO.

What I also got where answers that didn't show collected wisdom but misconception.

No Individual doesn't provide that information are they confusing Individual with base individual.

Huh why is that important of course it is an Individual it's clarified as such in the form description.

Well the base target of Mentem and Vim are specified as one but Auram is based on something 100 meters wide. How is that sizeless like the other two

So he justifies saying weather is size less by just ignoring the size descriptor.

And it repeated over and over again with people saying that Individual and base Individual mean the same thing. Or at least they where using it interchangeably. Even when I suspected they knew the difference they still seemed to be finding something in the form description of auram that suggested otherwise but refused to point out where. Any explanation when I got one just seemed to go back to people thinking that when the form description said Individual they read base Individual.

I don't really need validation I have validation on what base Individual means.

As far as applying it to Auram well once you understand the term for what it is it's very hard to confuse it with just any old single discrete thing. As always your saga your choice but if your don't understand the rules it's not a choice.