I'd be surprised if some similar spell hasn't been designed and discussed already - in such case, my apologies - but searching the forum didn't seem to wield pertinent results so far.
Vista from the Spring of Vim
InIm 25 (Terram)
Using an unique pawn of vis as an arcane connection to its original source, the caster contemplates a vision of the vis source and its immediate environment. He also gets an vague sense of direction (north, south, etc).
(base 1, D: +1 Conc, R: +4 Arcane Con, T: +2 Room(?), +1 additional sense of direction(Terram))
Edit : the "additional sense of direction" not reflecting a natural sense (for human being at least), maybe I should add 2 magnitude actually... ?
I asked myself the very same question (Vim req.), but taking my cue from the InIM spell Summoning the Distant Image"(p145), which has no requisite even though it also use an arcane connection (to a person or a place), I removed it. But, if I do add the "sense of direction", then yes, it would make sense.
err... I'm not sure if I get what you mean... "range and level 1 of vis" ?
To recapitulate, then :
Vista from the Spring of Vim
InIm 20 (Vim)
Using an unique pawn of vis as an arcane connection to its original source, the caster contemplates a vision of the vis source and its immediate environment. He also gets an vague sense of direction (north, south, etc) from his current position.
(base 1, D: +1 Conc, R: +4 Arcane Con, T: +1 Part, +1 additional sense of direction towards the source of the vis (Vim) )
This seems fine to me, except I wouldn't specify that you need a pawn of vis - it's just a variant of Summoning the Distant Image, without the hearing bit, and with a different target. It should work fine with any arcane connection, not just a pawn of vis.
Whether a pawn of vis IS an arcane connection to its source, is another question entirely. I'd go with the troupe's desicision on that, as I think that it is open to debate. Since the reason for having the sense of direction included is presumably so you can locate an unknown vis source, I'd probably say 'not' - unless your troupe wants your own vis sources to be locatable in the same manner and possibly raided/contested/etc...
First, I think the spell looks fine.
Second, I think that an untreated, harvested vis-container (like a bottle of air, the shells of a dragon, etc) is an arcane connection to the source. BUT only the same way as the container would be an arcane connection to the medium the vis is harvested from. So petals from a flower field at midsummer last far shorter than the special rock from the bottom of the mine.
This is why you Gather the Essence of the Beast, to place all vis into convenient containers. Then they have no connection to their source, I would say. Or they have a connection to the container. A nice trap is to put all vis into fragments of a huge crystal, and then place the crystal in a "scrying trap" spell (trying to catch the scrier and setting off alarms )
And you should be very, very careful with this spell as you will be Scrying if there is any Magus close to the source when you scry. And that is highly probable if it is a claimed source.
I think I would use InVi only to get the direction. I feel I'd have a winnable cause that locating a vis source by magic is not the same as scrying on my sodales. Conjuring an image of them gathering vis seems more difficult to defend...
Actually, this might want a Casting Requisite of the Form of the vis (rather than the Vim requisite? Or as well as?). Casting Requisites are a little vague, but somehow, given that vis is, more than anything else, an embodiment of The Art involved, it just seems approp.
Or not. I"m not convinced, more just thinking out loud. (Casting Req's are vaguely defined (at best), and I won't claim I know definitively when they do and don't apply.) The InIm should show the "source" of the AC, but given the nature of the AC/Target connection... maybe.
Again, thanks guys. Most interesting points here. 8)
( Sure, don't worry. I should have added "... so far". )
Regarding adding, or not, a casting req. :
Well, I'm not any more expert in the 'when & when not' of using casting requisistes myself, but I'd venture that IF we'd required a casting req. relative to the form of the vis (or of its yet un-havested container, cf Gulla's point) for such a spell, then perhaps a lot more of other spells curently using Arc.C would also use and specify them, right? So, at the moment I guess that's a no for me, IMS at least.
speaking of saga's mileage, I'm not really bothered by the possible political implications of this spell for my players' covenant, or even for the Order, btw (on the contrary, more on this below...). Anyway, as Gilarius said "Whether a pawn of vis IS an arcane connection to its source" is another debate. Sure, it's one that we may have to... brush up here (but I'd just rather avoid to be drown into it At least in this thread, if possible).
Okay, that being said...
Allow me to quote (emphasis mine) and address both at once, since I beleive that they have some common ground, if I'm reading you well.
- On Not getting Arc.C from some harvested vis to its source : I'd say it might be true at times, but not always.
Edit : First, your argument rest on a perhaps more truthful vision to Ars Magica poetic symbolism than my original draft, I'd say. So, nicely done. Still, I have to also consider some cold logical implication... Essentially, it would depend if the symbolic/mystical sympathies of the "parts" are kept by harvesting the vis, which relates to the process of said havesting, probably varying for each particular source.
Does source X requires a physical and/or mystical transformation for harvesting it ? Then I'd agree : no AC anymore to source X. But if "harvesting" source Y "only" involves picking up the shedded (and durable, I'd say) scales of the Great Worm of Albion, then an AC might be as easily kept as this Y vis, since it seems ready for storage/use as it is, in its scally form.
In short, I might need to add a sum up of such considerations in the spell description...
Oh, and accessarily, if on the other hand I'd state IMS a 'no AC from harvested vis, period' rule... While it would be a simpler guideline (often a good thing), this would also diminish the value of such a spell to the point that I wonder if it would even be worth inventing, unless setting the game in a low vis saga perhaps.
- On (Gilarius' point about) the possible AC of mundane parts : yes, but...
As a general consideration I (and the RAW too, I think)would agree. Here though, since this spell adds a secondary InVi effect (direction sense) I think that it could not be cast from a non-vis part, at least as written so far. And the thing is, I'd rather keep both effetcs under this one spell's umbrella, than splitting it in two different spells.
Why ? Partly from personal preferences, but also because I tend to be anally vigilant when it comes to considering physical parts of things as arcane connections, as this can be exploited/overused if we're not careful to remember that some symbolic if not mystical connection has to be the prime and final guideline as to what defines an AC. That's, again, bordering on another debate - and I know that you didn't imply that any physical thing is an AC - but for simplicity's sake I'll just say that keeping both effects in one spell gives a convenient (if slightly cowardly) way to avoid this debate in play.
Actually, being the storyguide IOS, I did draft this spell with hermetic scrying potential as my prime motive, for a story hook. Long story short, for a Tribunal session involving a (respected ) eremite magus complaining about scrying from this very spell by a covenant with a bad rep. An almost classic case to warm up my players with hermetic politics (and bribes).