Spell(s) for bashing: Detect through negation

Hello there,

One of our players is a monster hunter. However, he prefers to use mundane means of slaughtering supernatural beasts (rego specialist) and so his Penetration is rather low. At least for now. He wants to design a spell to detect if a creature is supernatural before starting to throw stuff on it to kill it (boulders and trees are a fav of him)

Now, most "creatures worth slaying" are at least power 20, so casting an IntVi spell tends to be resisted and he does not get much information. As a consequence he came up with the idea of "detecting them through negation":

MuCo/MuAn 5 /MuTe(He) 10 Greenness of the Mundane
(there are 3 versions of this spell)

Used with Forceless casting

Effect: Makes the person/animal/item ear or other concrete part glow bright green for a moment.

This means that if the spell is resisted by the creature or item and so, the creature or item does NOT glow, it means that the creature has MR of some kind. Hence it is detected to be a supernatural being by negating the spell. It needs to put you on guard if this happens.

Base 2: +2 voice, +1 part. +1 for He requisite in the Te spell.

Does it sound right? I have a weird feeling about the spell, and being the alpha SG I have veto right, but I have to put forward a good reason for the veto/modification.

Suggestions? Flames?....


Nope, looks about right to me. There are even more effective solutions: if you create a device that shines penetrationless light, it will not illuminate beings that have magic resistance. Use it to light a hallway at the entrance of your Covenant, and you can easily tell which of your visitors have MR and which don't. It should be easy enough to create as a Lesser Device by just about any magus.

For Parma Resistance at least, the target gets a warning if her magic resistance blocks a spell. If the same happens for supernatural beings, you may be alerting them of your presence.

Anyway, is an easy way of knowing if someone/something is supernatural or not.

MR does not give that ability. It is a side effect of the Parma itself. If a magus is caught without parma but resists a spell (he still has MR of at least 0 due to form bonus) he does not know he has been targeted. Extrapolating from there, MR does NOT give away the fact that you have been affected by a spell.


ArsM 5th p.85

"Awareness of attack: If a spell is stopped by magic resistance, the target knows that some effect has been stopped, but knows nothing about it." (Emphasis mine)

Thus, as far as canon is concerned, it seems that when normal (ie, non-Parma) MR blocks a spell, the target gets notice. Needless to say, a House Rule can circumvent this, perhaps in the sense you stated:

"Only Parma Magica gives you warning when a spell is resisted".

That would arguably make Parma Magica even more powerful (as compared to other kinds of MR offered by supernatural beings).

(Saludos desde Madrid)

Where do you find that? Do you have any RAW reference on it?

I concur. The Parma is a great tool, especially since besides Might there are few powers that grant MR, and there is no need to make the Parma even more advantageous than Might.

I thout it was only parma that gives awareness of attack. Hmm.... I will have to think about the implications of this, since we have been playing it wrong for a while. Not that it has had ANY consequence yet, but maybe I should point it up to the players.

Boosting PM in this sense does not look bad either.



Well, that's a question of preferences :smiley:

Parma is already formidable - especially since it is not only added to your Form Score but moat of all since it is an Ability and thus developable, whereas anything with Might is more or less static throughout even centuries of its life.

I personally dislike the mental picture of an apprentice and a dragon facing off (luckily this probably seldom happens as it would only rob the Order of its future and grow the dragons fat...). The dragon is a magic creature and his majesty and all his tremendous power resides in the flow of the magic through him - yet if the apprentice tries to target him with a spell that naturally doesn't penetrate this being of magic, in spite of being in tune with the essence of magic, not be able to sense being under attack?? On the other hand the apprentice with even a meekly score of 1 in the Parma would be able to detect any failed attempt on targeting him!

If you dislike facing your players with a change in rules (letting sleeping dogs - and dragons - rest) I would rather choose to go in the opposite direction, if at all, and let anyone with Might know of failed attacks, whereas only allow the magi to get that knowledge if they have their Parma up. Thus you can carry on as you have so far, but without having to weaken Might in favour of the Parma.

It wouldn't be too far off the wall to have some form of sliding scale - so that a spell which fails to penetrate by 1-10 is detected and source identified, 11-20 is detected but unknown source, 21+ is not detected (brushed aside like a fly). Or reverse it so as not to penalise high penetration spells, so that one that only just penetrates is not detectable but only that absolutely fails to penetrate is fully identified.

Where you position things would be down to your personal campaign. I quite like the former. But I don't mind the existing rules, it's all adding to the mystery of magic!

I really don't think I like this spell. I can't quite put a finger on it, maybe because it seems a bit silly, but it gives me the sensation of being a sort of loophole somewhat like a reverse version of the 'pink dot' issue.

If it is because you find it too hard to achieve with Intellego Vim, which would be the natural Arts for doing this the regular way, you might consider opting that since it is the Might in itself that you are detecting such a spell wouldn't need to Penetrate to detect the Might.

Being mundane is not a positive characteristic, it is merely the absence of a positive characteristic. I do wonder if there ought to be an additional lesser hermetic law meaning that magic can only detect positive states and not negative states.

This would obviously make a most detection spells perfectly legal, but would have implications for this sort of attempt. Similarly, it would allow you to detect a lie (a positive mis-statement) but it might not allow you to detect a misleading use of the truth.

However, as is written, the proposal to detect mundanes does indeed seem perfectly legal.

Actually, the spell does not DETECT anything, it turns a piece of the target into bright green. It is the observer, indirectly that checks if the piece turned green or not. If it didn't it means that the target is magical. The spell is simply to turn something green. No more, no less.

However, this has implications on the perception of the target to detect if it has MR or not. I also have some concerns about this, but it seems legal with the rules. it also prevents tricks from demons and the like: a demon can hide his power from your intellego spells. It cann0't, however prevent the spell from being resisted from its MR. or can he? :wink:



A demon can ALWAYS trick you, and if you think you are not tricked, then that is probably when he got you most tricked at all and you're just where he wants you to be! Or maybe you're just a Tytali... :laughing:

I can think of no rules against it, but as I said earlier that doesnt signify that I'd allow it myself. But if you do want this trick I might aswell give you hint, even if I think the spell is cheap. Why not forego all the different Forms of the spell, and simply make it an Intellego spell? The spell has to Penetrate the Might to reach its target, but the species don't care one bit about MR so even if the spell penetrates the colour green will be as vivid as if you had used all those different Forms. And having one form only makes the spell easier to invent, learn, cast etc.

That being said I'd still rather use the InVi idea I gave above than allow this green beast.

The player suggested this series of THREE spells (mind you, it is not a single spell) because there are a number of effects that destroy or hide the species cast by a supernatural creature or item. Nopne of them affects the MR of the item or creature, though. So it is a way of detect magical forgery as well. A creature with a CrVi spell to make it appear to be magical will NOT have MR for example, so you can detect it with this trick, while InVi would be fooled by the trick.

In fact this exact situation is what caused the player to think about it, after the "supercool Old One sword of slaying everything and the things beyond" was discovered to be a trick of their enemy covenant to get an AC into the PCs sanctum :smiling_imp: :mrgreen: A suitably enchanted (CrVi) mundane sword that appears to be magical at first glance. InVi just confirmed it.

And yeah,. I am a tytalus, but that is beyond the point :wink: All my players have the "proud while playing magi" flaw as well, so no biggie :wink:



There is? What would that be? Surely not more than there is changing the object themselves.

How can an item have MR?

I would still not allow the green dot spell.

I am tempted to tree comments: Was your story worse for it? Maybe you SG has learned from it, as we all only learn from mistakes what surprising stuff the players can pull on our stories, and will use that experience when creating stories? InVi confirmed it and for that very reason there is a host of vim spell denying or muddying up InVi spells detection of an items power. But these spell do not grant MR and thus the item could not be detected with the 'anti'-detect spell as the thing would turn green even if InVi spell could not detect the item as being magical.

There are PeVi (IIRC) guidelines to hide an item from appear magical in front of InVi spells. There is also a CrVi spell to give a mundane item or person the appearence of being magical.

House rule. Sorry for the confusion. A magical item is supposed to have a MR equal to the magnuitude of the effects invested into it (note: it is invested. Simplyu having a spell cast on it do not grants MR). Afecting Excalibur is more difficult than affecting a mundane sword.

I cannot contradict you here, since it is a personal decision :slight_smile:

  1. No, it was a better story. At least from my POV.

  2. I do not fully understand the second point about SG and players learning from mistakes....

  3. Spells of Vi do not grant MR unless invested into the item, as per our HR, hence the spells.



Just points to the fact that even if as SG like to plan a story and that it can be quite distressing when a longer story arc is punctured, but even if the story is anything like we had hoped it is often better for it.

If a story didn't go as expected I prefer to change my stories than to change the setting or the rules.

In continuation of the above - that the plans I've made as SG has often been completely changed when subjected to the reality of a session; to the reality of players and the endless surpises they can come up with.

Recall playing the 3rd ed Sct Lazarus scenario where a mutilated body washes up on a river bank on the lands of the covenant. This is a problem, beside being a story hook, since it makes the peasants worried and since the rumor might spread beyond the covenants fief and cause problems. The PCs however were most worried about the the priest at the town upstream - that if they arrived to inquire they might be scrutinized to much themselves. Therefore they wanted a clear cause to make their inquiry understandable, so to be able to make the priest believe they had good cause to travel the distance they strengthened their cause by the most surprising means: they startet a string of rumours of mutilated corpses appearing on their own lands! They priest did not take much notice of their reason for arriving, but back home everybody could only link the rumours of mutilated dead with one place - the covenant itself! This is just one example of how the players can spring surprises on you that not only changes a story, but the setting itself.

In other words as SG we must accept that our stories are nor our stories, but at the same time we also get more in experience in expecting our players' reactions and how that may shape a story. And that is a never ending process.

Now that is different. I have no experience with item MR as we dont use it, so I can't really tell how I'd go about the detection of the item. It is a bit special that you've made HR on item MR but that you are now using your lab time on how to ignore that MR. :smiley:

Yes, such asses we can be :wink: It is not me, but the players that demanded both magic items having MR and now try to overcome it. Up to them if they want to do that :slight_smile: No biggie for me, since my magus used to be an auram warlock, with no interest in subtle magics that did not imply thunders and lightning. He was out of the covenant most of the time and those "frivolities" did not interest him (since I am the alpha SG)

Now they are all dead, but this can overflow into our next saga, starting on Sunday with the covenant and player creation.

About the stories, yes, I know what you mean. I have seen it countless times as well. The best thing was to see a party with 2 magi and 2 grogs shy from a child with piercing gaze, since they found her "disturbing2 and thought it was a powerful supernatural being. So a side scene about the magi being nice with a poor child in the streets of a city became a major event in the story. So much that I ended up making the child an important element in the saga! :slight_smile:



I don't see a problem with the spells as written. I think that if you decided to not have them work you end up with a less consistant system.

On the other hand, aren't there a number of level 1 guidelines "detect the presence of X"?

Base 1 + 2 range, no adjustments for duration or target. This gives you a level 3 spell. Use forceless casting on a non fatiguing spont, if the critter that you're looking at isn't there according to your spell then it is a rreaqsonable guess that it has might. It would proabaly be at least as easy to get your casting total high enough to cast a level 3 non-fatiguing spell (15) as it would be to research the three effects.

Also it might appear a bit less cheesy and thus ameliorate concerns like Furion's if members of your troupe have such.

This house rule is interesting. Primarily because it explains the existence of the Disenchant ritual... I mean, why bother with major vis-using rituals if Stone to Falling Dust (PeTe20) will get rid of the hypothetical cursed kinslayer sword forever?

And C&G already gives hermetic enchanted items greater mundane durability than normal items.