Speak with any one human

One of the InMe guidelines is "speak with any one human." Unfortunately, there's no spell I can find that uses that guideline, so I'm not entirely certain what it means. So, I came here to see if I could get any guidance.

The spell is InMe, which must tell us something.The Mentem part implies that the "speaking" we're talking about is mental. The Intellego part implies that you learn something from the target's mind. My best guess is that this guideline let's you speak mentally with the target of the spell. At the very least it implies that you can hear their communicative thoughts. But does it go both ways, i.e., can you send thoughts as well as receive them? My gut tells me yes, and I'll explain why.

First, the guideline says "speak," which implies two way communication.

Second, another level 15 guideline is "read a person's surface thoughts." But when you mentally speak with a person you don't detect all of their surface thoughts, just the ones that they want you to hear. So, if the "speaking" were just receiving thoughts, then it would be less effective than another guideline of the same level, which lets you read not only the surface thoughts the target wants you to read, but also the ones they don't want you to read.

Of course, since if you're sending thoughts as well as receiving them, I'd toss on a Creo requisite to the spell. I'd imagine that would be free requisite, since you couldn't send anything without the requisite.

In any case, here's a sample spell that I think meets the requirements of this guideline. But I'm not 100% sure and would welcome any thoughts people have as to what exactly it means to have an InMe guideline that allows you to "speak with any one human."

Far Speaking
InMe 40
Requisite: Creo
R: Arc, D: Conc, T: Ind
This spell allows the caster to communicate mentally with one person for whom he has an arcane connection.
(Base 15, +4 Arc, +1 Conc)

Of course, you'd be wise to use it only with someone that it was designed for because it's a high enough spell to cause warping. But if you designed it specifically for an important character (like a companion), it might be a very useful spell to have.

Which makes me think that an alternative would be:

Silent Speaking
InMe 25
Requisite: Creo
R: Touch, D: Conc, T: Ind
This spell allows the caster to communicate mentally with one person whom he is touching.
(Base 15, +1 Touch, +1 Conc)

If this spell were mastered to allow it to be cast silently and without gestures, it would be useful in quietly consulting with someone in a way that couldn't be overheard. Better yet, it doesn't cause warping.

I thought it was an improvement upon the level-5 guideline as opposed to the sending of thoughts/speech (like the CrMe guidelines). Certainly, though, there is no problem using Cr/In along with Me to mentally communicate with another.

Compare with the familiar bond effect of Mental Communication on p105 of the 5th ed corebook - That uses base 3 CrMe for one-way communication of words to a target, with level 4 to communicate thoughts and images. Rather than using a base 3 Creo effect for you to talk to someone, and an Intellego effect to understand their speech, using the InMe "speak with any one human" to allow two-way communication seems sensible.

You could consider a variation of the Far Speaking spell that uses enchanted items to avoid direct Warping of the target. Potentially cool for a Mystery Cult, as well...

You could name these devices Telephonum Malum, and the Mystery Cult Malum, and seize the communications market of Mythical Europe. Just remember to use the lab rules for expiring effects, so after a while customers will be needing to get a new one!

But Lemon wood gets a much bigger bonus (+5 hearing). I think lemon themed communications devices would rule voice communications and delivery of music.

Perhaps House Jerbiton would create a service called lemon music, and raise funds for minstrels by public subscription?

The OP was after direct mind-to-mind communication, which handily avoids language barriers but could risk warping. A device that projects sounds or displays writing avoids warping but uses the language skills of the people trying to use the device.

You'd have to engage in a whole heck of a lot of communication before you'd be in danger of warping. I mean, even today, with the ubiquity of cell phones, how much time do you actually spend on the phone talking to someone? Let's even toss in texting. I'll bet it's still far, far less than 50% of the day. I tend to think that it would be trivial to avoid warping even with mind-to-mind communication. Just don't leave the device on 24/7.

And, of course, once you start creating sounds or images, you're into CrIm and not InMe, which means you have to use a whole different set of guidelines.

You yourself mentioned the Warping due to the high magnitude of the spell. We've of course mentioned some ways to mitigate this problem (tailored spells, using enchantments), but if you wanted to generalize the effect rather than using custom spell variants/enchanted items, it is a problem!

Oh, right, the high level of the spell. Forgot that for a moment. My bad.

This came up a long, long time ago in our games.
The way we interpret the guideline is as an expansion/variation of the Base 5 guideline "understand the meaning of spoken words". With the Base 15 guideline, you can gain sufficient insight into the target's mind that you can understand not only what he's saying (that's the Base 5 guideline) but also how to say something you want to say, so as to be understood. In other words, it allows you to bypass the language barrier both ways.

Note that you still need to have some other means of communication: the guideline, being Intellego with no requisites, only allows you to understand what to say/what the target has said, it does not allow "telepathy".

You make it sound as if trying to have a "telepathy" effect is somehow improper. But mental communication is clearly anticipated in ArM. (Just ask anyone with a familiar.) The base CrMe 3/4 guideline clearly allows sending thoughts, while the InMe 15 guideline allows reading of all surface thoughts. It's not unreasonable to assume that there might be a guideline that combined the two into genuine two-way mental communication.That guideline would probably be a Cr(In)Me guideline or an In(Cr)Me guideline. It has to be listed in one or the other, so why not in InMe? It does't seem unreasonable to find it there.

In my original post I'd assumed that any two-way communication would have to have a Creo requisite. The fact that the requisite is not specifically listed in the guidelines is not dispositive in my mind. While the various guidelines mention some requisites, they also omit mention of others. We have the general rules on guidelines to fall back on. Clearly here, where we're mixing CrMe and InMe effects, it would have a requisite.

So, I look a the guidelines with that in mind, knowing that sending thoughts is only level 3 CrMe and reading all surface thoughts is level 15 InMe and I think that its reasonable to assume that there might be a guideline in CrMe or InMe that allows two-way mental communication, i.e., sending thoughts and reading only some surface thoughts (those that the target wants to be sent). Lo and behold, there is "speak with any one human," and it's at about where I think it ought to be in level. Reading some surface thoughts ought to be lower in level than reading all surface thoughts, so that ought to be under level 15. But we bump it back up because it allows sending thoughts as well as receiving them and we get back to level 15.

I can see where your interpretation comes from. But the guideline is not phrased to specifically limit it to that interpretation either. So, I understand that this all requires some interpretation. But I don't think my interpretation is unreasonable.

So, I'll ask you two followup questions: (1) if you think that the "speak with any one human" does not allow two-way mental communication, do you think that there is a valid In(Cr)Me guideline allowing that effect; and (2) if so, what do you think the proper level of that guideline should be?

Fafnir and his troupe have taken a reasoned and reasonable decision. An InMe spell targeting a man cannot create words or thoughts magically in the target's mind, but can read the details of his native language with a level 15 base effect and thus allow the caster to speak that language while the spell lasts. The caster cannot recall that language obtained by magic (see HoH:S p.68 Memory) after the spell expires, but while it lasts has access to the target's memory.

Two-way mental communication with In(Cr)Me is simpler than the spell of Fafnir, but can really unsettle and scare the spell's target.

Technically it can use the (ArM5 p.149 box Intellego Mentem Guidelines) InMe level 5 base effect "Understand the meaning behind spoken sounds" and put the (ArM5 p.148 box Creo Mentem Guidelines) CrMe level 4 base effect "Put a thought or emotion into another's mind" on top, using ArM5 p.114f Requisites to combine them.

So we might e. g. get


I was not at all implying that two-way mental communication is "improper". I was just pointing out that I do not think that the InMe guideline we were discussing was about it.

There are several reasons for that. Perhaps the strongest is that, as One Shot points out, no Creo requisite is given (while requisites usually are, either in the guideline itself or is some previous discussion or general rule). Another reason is that guidelines tend to be atomic: they specify a single effect that would be hard to break up into separate components, and let individual spells showcase how multiple related guidelines can be combined into a single spell (e.g. The Earth's Carbuncle). In this case, we already have guidelines under Creo for sending thoughts, and under Intellego for reading them. So it would be redundant to give a guideline combining the two, since there are already rules in place for it.

In general, I agree with OneShot's analysis, with two caveats.

The first is that, although the Creo Mentem base 4 guideline can put a complex thought into the mind of the target, it only allows you to transmit a single thought. While the matter is probably open to interpretation, I would not allow it to convey a whole conversation, in part based on the fact that the example familiar power that uses the guideline to allow a magus to transmit thoughts to his familiar (or viceversa, but that's a separate power) is instilled with D:Mom and Unlimited uses. This really involves two issues: "size" and "interactivity". Using the Creo Mentem base 5 guideline (see Memory of a Distant Dream) should address the first and allow a whole, lengthy monologue to be transmitted. But granting the caster the ability to create additional thoughts in the mind of the target after the spell has been cast is not quite the same. Compare:
a) creating a Ball of Abysmal Fire, even one with a long duration, or a group of them, with
b) gaining, with a single spell, the ability to keep shooting out Balls of Abysmal Fire, one after the other.
Then again, we do know (e.g. from Rego Mentem "mind control" spells) that this sort of "communication over time" is possible, so it's not an issue of whether Hermetic Magic can do it, but only how to price it. I think that CrMe 10 (1 magnitude over the "insert a whole memory in one shot" to allow for the complexity of interactivity) would probably be reasonable.

The second caveat is that the InMe base 5 guideline "understand spoken words" is not quite the same as "allow the target to speak silently to you, without forming words at all". I'd have to check more closely in the examples from the various books, but I would use whatever effect is used to allow a magic item to receive a mental command, which I believe (but I might really be wrong on this) is the base 15 guideline "read a person's surface thoughts".

With these two things in mind, two-way mental communication (R:Eye, D:Conc) "in a single spell" would then be In(Cr)Me 30: Base 15, +1 Eye, +1 Conc, +1 Creo requisite. Depending on the magus, it may be a better solution to split it into an InMe 25 spell, and large number of "single thought" transmissions, each involving a separate, probably silent and fatigueless, casting of a CrMe 5 spell (base 4, +1 Eye).

I respectfully disagree with that. There are numerous examples in the core rules alone of requisites that are applied to spells but are not in the guideline or any previous discussion that I can find.

Sort of, but not quite, by my interpretation. I see where you're coming from, but I'm stumped by the fact that the guideline for reading thoughts reads all surface thoughts, not just thoughts the target wants to send. That stray thought about the task the target forgot earlier today? That gets read. That thought expressing disbelief over what the caster just said? That gets read. That thought thinking what a bore the caster is droning on and on? That gets read. It could be awkward and a real disincentive to be the target of the spell. I was thinking that they might have provided a separate guideline that just read "projected" thoughts that the target wanted sent. Something a little more precise than every surface thought that the target has. This clearly seems possible, since the CrMe guideline allows a caster to send only projected thoughts. Why not allow it in the reverse direction, allowing the caster to detect only projected thoughts that the target forms to be sent?

Now, I can't imagine that the level of that effect would be as great as reading all surface thoughts, since it's not as powerful. For the sake of argument, say it's level 10, just one magnitude below reading all surface thoughts. Given that, it seemed reasonable to me to up it by 5 to include the sending of thoughts as well. At least that's my reasoning.

I can see the argument that you might want to put them in two separate effects. There are a number of reasons you might want to do that. The CrMe power to send projected thoughts is clearly written up. But I'd look to a guideline that would allow only receiving projected thoughts as the InMe guideline to make it a more palatable spell.

The ArM5 p.105 Sample Powers Mental Communication enchantment of the familiar bond has unlimited uses - so doing more than D: Mom is not needed.

But have a look at:

So the base 3 CrMe guideline can be used for continuous sending, and the base 4 CrMe guideline is used in Mental Communication just like the base 3 one. If your troupe does - for whatever reason that escapes me - only allow the base 3 one to be used continuously, you can use that guideline in Silent Exchange between Strangers instead.

You should ask yourself, just what the InMe spell is reading, when it understands spoken words. It reads the mind, so clearly whispered words count. But whispered how loudly? What about them not being intelligible at all? And where is the limit?
Being understood in Silent Exchange between Strangers looks very much like a novice learning to read first by pronouncing aloud the words read, then still whispering them in the scriptorium while trying not to disturb his fellows, and finally reading silently like all the others. I alluded to that above by writing


Good catch. I'm convinced on this point.

I'm not convinced about this. While the spell really technically reads the mind, it's not obvious that extracts the whole speech, in a language-independent form, from the mind itself. It could, in some sense, act as a "translator" that looks up in the target's mind what meaning he associates with a given word or expression. If the magus doesn't know which words the target is using in the first place, the spell can't translate them. So, in your example, if the target started lowering his voice until it faded beyond audibility, the spell would progressively convey a correspondingly more frayed translation, eventually fading to nothingness.

You could actually argue the other way round. It's more complex to read only that specific portion of the target's surface thoughts, filtering out all the rest. I can definitely say that in real life hearing the words that people say is easier than hearing only the words they are trying to say :slight_smile:

That already makes a lot of assumptions to read a short guideline phrase.

Languages are tricky things. How would a magus know, just where a word ends, what is an expression, what a phrase, what an harrumph not even meant to convey meaning? He needs to get all that from the target's mind anyway.

And you tell me, that the caster after this first reading of the target's mind then still needs to make a second reading of it, to translate each "given word or expression" he heard?

All this you get from (ArM5 p.149 box Intellego Mentem Guidelines) "Understand the meaning behind spoken sounds"? If you wish to grasp that poor phrase without reading the author's mind, you should certainly note that he writes of spoken sounds, not sounds heard by the caster.

I'd rather follow the idea of your troupe here:

So only the base 15 InMe guideline - on the level with "pick a single answer from the mind of a target" - accesses the HoH:S p.68f inscribed memories with the target's language Abilities, while the base 5 InMe guideline just accesses the target's mind about "what he's saying" just now.


Then again, it's far easier to hear things that a person says boldly than things that they mumble. In fact, I'd use your own example in my defense. Hearing what people say, i.e., the thoughts they want to project, is easier than hearing what they're trying to say, i.e., their inner thoughts that reveal their intentions.

My point in citing the CrMe spell was that this spell clearly differentiates between personal thoughts and projected thoughts (and does it at a base level of 3). A magus using a CrMe base 3 spell only sends the thoughts he wants to send, not all of them. So, magic differentiating between projected thoughts and personal thoughts is apparently not all that difficult, as I see it.