[Spell] Gorgon's Fearful Hair

Ave Sodales,

Here is my attempt for a new spell :

Would you say it is well balanced ?
Would you agree it qualify for the Minor Magical focus : Snakes ?

I would say that it should have a base of 5 instead of 3 (add parts so that they no longer look human). I do believe the magical focus is appropriate

I believe it definitely counts as 'snakes' for magical foci.
As far as the spell's numbers, you listed it as T: individual as well as +1 part in the math. I'd need to check out possible comprable spells to see about the +1 fear effect and +1 ease factor magnitudes. I might drop them entirely, since different people would react in different ways to the sudden appearance of gorgon-hair.. But I try to avoid declaring others emotional reactions in spells unless they're using Mentem.

Oops ! I assume it's Part because the Range is Personal and it targets only the hair.

I'm not sure how to do. Many core rulebook spell descriptions include Ease factors or Personality Traits rolls for opposing said spell's effects. Are they part of the guidelines / base effects ? Or are they here for convenience and illustration ?

If I suppress the quoted magnitudes then the spell seems a little powerful, considering a similar ReMe effect would be a Level 5 base effect, hence making a ReMe(An)30 spell (Base 5, +3 Sight, +2Group) in order to inspire fear in the heart of the nearest characters who see you.

I'll need to check the core book when I get home - this might just be my own tendencies rather than common practice in the rules.

The part I was suggesting you change is the bolded part below, not the italicized:


If it has a fear effect, then you must include Cr and Me.

Otherwise, some people might be afraid, but others might react with anger and hatred and a desire to kill the foul demon-witch, and still others might go "oh, cool, I love snakes." It's not up to you.



Funny but convincing example. I must agree. Thanks for your help Sodales,


BTW, if your sigil is snakes, and maybe even if it isn't, this can be a straight up CrMe fear, with the medusa hair either being the manifestation of your sigil, or an effect similar to InMe Frosty Breath.



Is hair considered to be alive in Mythic Europe?
To my modern mentality, I keep thinking changing inanimate hair into animate snakes should involve some more effort.

I agree the Target should be Part; annoying as the level is, it should be used and this seems the sort of spell to use it.

Though I haven't researched the subject, thematically, making it T:Part would make sense to me; the hair is part of the target. The other end of the stick I don't like: If the hair is not part of the target, I can ReCo someone's braids without having to target them.

I fully agree that the hair is part of the human traget.
It is more that I suspect the transformation of something inanimate to something animate is more likely handled by either Creo or Rego, rather than by Muto.

I am currently without books, but I am under the impression of changing a staff into a live snake is more likely a Divine miracle than in the scope of Hermetic Magic.

I guess my line of thinking was, as part of the human target, it's probably as alive as the rest of the human target. If you were trying to animate your hair as snakes and attack people with them, then I could see a Rego +1 requisite. If you just wanted them to hiss and sway a bit, Rego +0 or no requisite at all makes sense.


No Rego even there. If I MuCo(An) my arm into a bear claw, I don't need Rego to attack with it. It's part of me. But I do need to spend my time attacking. And I'd probably need a guideline better than merely changing appearance. Same with changing my hair into snakes. The snakes are me. Of course, at that point I'd really want a better guideline, since I can now see through all those snake eyes too, etc.

Come to think of it, transforming my hair into a mass of venemous serpents (give it duration Sun and we can call it Bad Hair Day) that let's you attack and perceive through the snakes, and maybe more is rather versatile. If I can detach and send my hair off on snakey missions, that's even better. Higher level, of course. But no Rego needed: The snakes are me!





I think the base should be MuCo:5, with "Add or remove human body parts from the target in such a way that he no longer looks human" as the guidelines, and an animal requisite at +1 to make the added part snakes, but this guideline also does make the target individual instead of part. Then modify for range and duration. And of course for requiring a saving throw, though whether that can be specified is probably up to the storyteller... so either 15 or 25 depending on which way it goes.

A more apt comparison would be turning your left hand into a bear HEAD rather than a bear claw. turning your hair to snakes puts an impetus of action into them, though I would probably argue it acts similar to a wandering hand syndrome, where the snakes just kind of wiggle around and taste the air, maybe coil around each other in an incredibly distracting way. Though if you're in a very stressful situation, the snakes would probably be very agitated as well... I wonder if percieving through the snake-hair would require an Intellego requisite to filter the alien multi-sensory perceptions of a dozen different eyes...

This is probably the cleanest way to do it though.


Still MuCo(An).

I have no idea what "impetus of action" means, semantically.

Why? My fingers don't randomly wiggle around randomly.

Why? In AM, I don't have to see a psychiatrist to deal with the trauma of turning my arm or head into a bear's equivalent.

And why would I need Intellego to see through my eyes? EyeOCat doesn't require it.

OTOH, a GM can reasonably decide that the spell deserves an extra magnitude for a complex effect.

Agreed, at least for the more advanced versions of the spell. The ones in which the snakes are purely cosmetic are only changing appearance. (Or at least a cleaner way to do it.) Except that I don't think the An requisite is a +1, because it is an intrinsic part of the effect.



There is a MuCo 2 baseline stating "Change someone to give them a minor ability"

Here I use a greater baseline (3) with the statement "utterly change the appearance".

As long as the spell grants no special ability, I would say Base 3 is fine - hair turned into snakes is utterly changing, yes ?

Eyes of the cat, Shape of the woodland prowler, Cloak of Black Feathers, Curse of Circe, all have Animal requisites free.
I agree with you : the requisite in my spell is a part of it, not an addition.


I would be ok with that, if the snakes don't actually do anything beyond hissing and writhing.

I do suspect that the level 5 version but with Ind rather than Part is a better choice: It precludes any problems with being able to hold up your head weighed down with all those snakes! It precludes anyone complaining that writhing and hissing snakes go beyond appearance. It also lets you reasonably have the snakes reflexively behave in a manner consistent with your character, and perhaps with a little bit of control: Being calm when you are calm, all turning to look at an enemy and hiss malevolently, etc. The more advanced guideline justifies all of this. And if the GM gives you a situational bonus sometimes to reflect the coolness of what your snakes are doing, all the better. No Mentem needed.

Even the writers (approved by editors) lack consistency when it comes to choosing Guidelines and R/T/D. This tendency gets worse in later books, but the PeCo spells in the core rules are interesting when it comes to Ind vs Part, for example.

So there's some art involved. It isn't necessarily about right vs wrong but about being close.