Special Ranges, Durations, and Targets

I'm not sure I want to open the following can of worms, but it has been sitting around for nearly two decades… Any comments on the suggestion below?

Special Ranges, Durations, and Targets

Hermetic spells can be invented with special Ranges, Durations, or Targets, which do not quite fit the normal rules, such as The Bountiful Feast and The Trackless Step. Such spells cannot be cast spontaneously, but any magus can invent them, with or without a Lab Text. Special spell properties must be mythically appropriate to the spell. For example, The Trackless Step hides your tracks until the caster stops moving, for example, but it would not be possible to create a scrying spell that lasted until the caster stopped moving, because that is not mythically appropriate. The magnitude modification should be taken from the standard property that is closest to the intended special property, but larger. Thus, The Trackless Step is based on Sun, because normally someone will not keep moving for more than eight hours. Inventing spells with special properties is very appropriate if a magus is conducting original research to create a new Range, Duration, or Target.

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I like it.

I like this a lot.

If I understand your intent correctly, I would edit the last sentence for clarity as, "While inventing spells with special properties is very appropriate if a magus is conducting original research to create a new Range, Duration, or Target, original research is NOT required to invent a spell with special, mythically-appropriate properties.

This makes it concrete that OR isnt required, which I can see resulting from people reading this block.

EDIT:

Additionally, I would consider adding the following line to nip this in the bud, "This cannot be used to recreate the specific Range, Duration, or Target available through any existing virtue. For example, you could not use this clause to invent a spell with an effect similar to Bloodline target or Sensory Magic-style Hearing Range."

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Well, there are several changes here.

Broadly, it gives very specific rules that any magus can use. This is unlike the original, which only said it is "slightly more difficult" and explicitly left things to SG interpretation. I had one SG that interpreted that only magi with the right Virtues can invent such spells...

I like the Mythic-appropriateness idea, and the examples serve well, although I feel the text could use editing - sorry, I can't put my finger on why (except to note one "for example" too many). I'm not sure it's always smart to just take +1 magnitudes above the closest spell parameter.

More generally, I think this mechanic is not used much, for two reasons.

First - it intrudes on the RDT granting Virtues (or Breakthroughs, Mysteries, etc). It makes RDT-granting mysteries not-useful (except for Spontaneous spells) if their parameter-cost is a bit high, and less useful even if the parameter has a lower cost (why invest in acquiring a Mystery to do X, if you can just pull it off with slightly-stronger magic?), and also makes it less special (now ANYONE can cast a Range:Line spell).

Second - it's frighteningly flexible. Instead of wizards being confined to standard magic, now they can do anything. Lots of headache for the SG to rule if the parameter is appropriate and how it works precisely. Lots of arguments such as "so what it breaks a Limit of Magic, +3 is still 1 magnitude above the closest Range".

And also third - it's a hard-to-find rule that has very few examples that aren't highlighted in the core spells.

I personally feel this mechanic should be dropped in ArM6. It has been replaced by the various ways magi can gain/invent new RDTs, which is a superior mechanic (especially for driving stories). The paragraph should be replaced with a note saying some spells use non-standard RDTs, and these are results of Experimention or partial-integration or so on, so generally can only be invented from a Lab Text. That keeps the setting more interesting and adds challenges to PCs wanting to invent such spells, IMHO.

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I don’t agree. It does not allow one to create, for instance, the Bloodline Target or any of the Faerie conditional or Perpetuity durations. Sure, it allows creating the Fire duration but, really that has to be one of the least useful durations. Sensory Magic? Nope. Road range or target? Nope. Performance? Maybe, but you don’t get to replace the voice and/or gestures. Atlantean Magic I would have to check but my guess is it wouldn’t be possible for most. Maybe there are others I’m forgetting.

I'd prefer to tag a magnitude (at least, possibly a few) on top of the 'rounding up' bit, for "non-standard effect". This is simply to motivate(semi-) original research.

It does though, have the advantage that we'd not need that annoying 'Target: Pair'-thing that crop up ever so often.

I don't understand your reasoning there. Why is a Bloodline target not available as one-magnitude higher than the closest standard target, namely Group? Or if you go with the original phrasing - perhaps a few magnitudes extra, rather than one. Why isn't Perpetuity one magnitude above Year? Why can't you duplicate Sensory Magic? Road Target?

All the rule says is that it's slightly more difficult than the closest standard spell parameter. I don't see anything that limits the new spell-parameter in any way.

Performance Magic I grant, in the respect that the rule doesn't replace standard spellcasting (Hermetic words and gestures).

I like it! There's only one comment I would make, and one question I would ask.

I can very well understand the principle "make it a little more expensive". However, I think that somehow one should be able not just to "move up" in magnitude, but also "move down" if sufficient limitations are taken. For example, imagine some spell that affects ... hmm ... only pairs of True Friends/True Lovers; say, making each feel what the other feels. The closest Target is Group (+2), but I do not think +3 magnitudes would be an appropriate modifier. I think +1 would be. This may not be the best example, but I hope at least the idea is clear.

And: can these special Ranges, Durations, and Targets involve not just spells, but enchanted devices too?
Perhaps incongrously, I'd rather have no as an answer, since I feel spells still get too little love and should be made a little more special... Also, if one allows enchanted devices, one should probably deal with the whole lot of other supernatural-effect sources: periapts, Bjornaer inner-heartbeast powers etc. etc.

In terms of the example alone, I would have put "until they stop moving" as being related to performance duration which is linked to concentration rather than day. of course on the other side it needs to be recognized that that jumps in duration in ars magica are huge which makes it confusing where a line should be drawn (similar for size magnitude, a new magnitude can give you 10x the size but how much can you squeeze out before going up a magnitude)

Bloodline goes against the limit of Arcane Connections because a person is only a sympathetic link to their relatives.

Sensory magic goes against the limit of the requirement of sensing the targets of the spell which is not technically a limit and is partially broken in a limited way by wards but that is a specific carve-out.

Conditional durations are not a thing in standard hermetic practice, the only place we see those crop up are within faerie magic.

I see Year as the maximum spell length without OR but maybe that should be made explicit. How I read this is that to make a season-length spell is actually harder than a year-length spell because it is non-standard, unless someone were to design a new standard duration of a season.

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[quote="dc444, post:10, topic:170035, full:true"]
Bloodline goes against the limit of Arcane Connections because a person is only a sympathetic link to their relatives.[\quote]
That goes to the second problem with non-standard parameters - it's discussions like this. Clearly the relatives are mythically "one" in some sense, or else the Faerie target won't work. So is targeting one enough to affect the entire family, just like touching a building is enough to affect all of it? Or is that connection something only accessible with Faerie Magic, not standard Hermetic magic? When the parameters are limited to standard parameters, the question never rises up. When everyone and his uncle can invent new parameters willy-nilly, things get more complicated.

OK, that's I think a clearer case of violating the limits of magic. Yet still, consider that the core book explicitly gives the example of affecting people in a room by PeCo with Target:Room. Why not invent the non-standard spell parameter Target:Voice, being "anywhere my voice carries"? You could argue that this target violates the Limit of Arcane Connections, sure, but the player can counter that the Room target violates it too yet is allowed.

The rule just leaves ton of room for arguments and discussions, it's truly a can of worms better left unopened.

Non-standard, sure, but the whole point is to use "non-standard" parameters. The rules as written (either in the core book, or in the OP) do not say that parameters accessible by Virtues (such as Faerie Magic) are inaccessible. I think they would be inapplicable if they made an exception out of spell parameters achievable by Virtues/Mysterie/etc, as that's too broad and an ever-changing category.

I'd personally peg a Season spell as Moon + 1, reasoning it's closer to Moon than to Year and taking +1 above that.

And I see no place where the rules say that Year is the maximum duration without OR. A longer period is just... a "non-standard" spell parameter. By the rules as written (in the core book or in the OP). The Limit of Creation does imply it's not possible to create something permanently without raw vis, but with raw vis even that is no longer prohibited.

If you don’t see how Bloodline goes against the limit of AC I don’t know what to tell you. And, yes, obviously it is possible by a hermetic with faerie magic but that doesn’t mean it is possible or anything like it is possible otherwise.

There is no corollary for conditional durations among the standard durations. I think that’s pretty apparent so it follows that one can’t do Until or something like it if they don’t normally have access to that duration.

It’s interesting that you despise this rule and state that like it is something new but it has always been there (since the core book was created, it was just quite ill defined).

@David_Chart, I know I will be in the vast minority here, but I would like some notes toward game mechanics. Some mentions of how things work within the game rules rather than just within the Medieval Paradigm.

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I think it may be better to leave this can of worms alone for now…

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[quote="dc444, post:12, topic:170035, full:true"]If you don’t see how Bloodline goes against the limit of AC I don’t know what to tell you. And, yes, obviously it is possible by a hermetic with faerie magic but that doesn’t mean it is possible or anything like it is possible otherwise.[\quote]
Oh, I tend to agree. But I do think players will argue otherwise, given the possibility of effectively developing this target without needing to pick up Faerie Magic. The rule just leads to arguments, IMO.

[quote]There is no corollary for conditional durations among the standard durations. I think that’s pretty apparent so it follows that one can’t do Until or something like it if they don’t normally have access to that duration.[\quote]
Sure. That doesn't mean it's beyond the Limits of Magic, however, so I don't see how that's relevant. The whole point of the rule is to allow parameters that are otherwise not accessible to vanilla Hermetic magi.

I don't "despise" the rule, but I do think it leads to unnecessary arguments and undermines the cooler mechanics of Mysteries, Breakthroughs, etc. I'm also am quite aware that it's not new, as you can see in my first post in this thread.

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I think leaving this can of worms alone is the best idea. When I first saw this thread pop up, my first reaction was "I'm not touching that..." which is why I haven't posted in it until you decided it was a good idea not to do anything with it.

@David_Chart This is definitely very well intentioned, but it does make things a little difficult to adjudicate fairly in game - different people will have very different Mythic Perspectives... :wink:

That said, sometimes the current limits are a bit rigid for what a player may want to do. I'm not sure of an easy solution - other than an optional rule of some sort.

I'm not taking it personal, but I can't help but notice that the last post before David decided to "put the lid back on" was my own requesting actual game mechanics instead of just Paradigm properties.

Why not complement the above text with an original research "light" approach? E.g. Get one discovery while researching your spell, and it comes with the special RDT you wanted, fail to achieve discovery and you can reinvent the spell or accept a normal RDT. If you obtain a discovery, you can stop there and enjoy your spell, or keep doing that and refer to original research rules from HoH:TL for how many breakthrough points you might need to complete creating a virtue granting access to it on a reliable basis.

@temprobe while I like the mechanic you are proposing per se, it does make creation of unusual RDT spells significantly harder than it is now, which I dislike.