Spells Designed for a Specific Target

So, we were debating this question in our saga setup and the troupe did not elect to go with my interpretation. No big deal, that happens a lot. :slight_smile:

But it did get me thinking whether I was really off base on my interpretation of how things work. I'm not trying to overturn the troupe's decision. But I am trying to see if my interpretation is way out of whack. That brought me here to tap the collective ArM wisdom.

The question involves tailoring a powerful spell to a particular target to avoid warping. and whether that is limited to a specific individual target or whether it could be tailored to multiple targets, each of whom might safely be its target.

Let's take tan example of A Leap of Homecoming spell (Touch range, Individual target). That's definitely high enough that it would generally cause warping to its target (provided it wasn't the caster). But the rules say that it can be tailored to a particular target and that target will not be warped by the spell. Say the magus designing the spell has a dozen grogs he wants to be able to move about at need between some dispersed locations. Does the spell inventor have to pick just one of his grogs to design the spell for, or can he design it for all of the grogs as safe targets?

One school of thought interprets this option very narrowly. The language of the rule (p. 168 of the ArM rulebook) says "target" so that should limit it to a single safe target. The magus will have to draw lots to decide which one grog is lucky enough to have the spell designed for him. Some further posit that it would take a minor breakthrough or at least a minor hermetic virtue to allow a magus to designate more than one individual as a safe target for a high-level spell.

The opposing view is more broad. It notes that even by the most narrow interpretation there can be two safe fargets (the caster, who is presumably someone the spell is designed for, and the designated target), not one. The limit, this argument says, is the fact that you have to know the potential targets ahead of time (to perform horoscopes and the like to make the spell tailored to them), and that the real limit is that anyone who comes along later is out of luck. The magus' dozen grogs can all be made safe targets for the spell, but the grog who comes to the covenant after the spell is designed can't be included retroactively. The spell is already designed by that point and would have to be redesigned to include anyone new as a safe target.

So what says the ArM community? I'm looking primarily ar the question of tailoring a spell to more than one target. I'm not looking for clever ways to teleport grogs. That's just an example.

So allowing the same spell to have several designated targets plus the caster exempt from the warping due to its power is saga specific.

A clever player's magus using troupe leniency to designate all the currently present magi, companions and grogs in his covenant at once as targets for the same spell looks pretty cheesy to me. But it is your saga.


I think spells with group target could be designed for a specific group. But the group would have to stay exactly the same. So if Julio the grog dies you would have to bring his skull to keep the others from warping :smiley:

So, you're right, there probably ought to be some limit on things. Perhaps it could be tied to Magic Theory. But I don't think it's fair to wipe the whole issue away with one extreme example. Reducing it down to the smallest level, it seems perfectly reasonable that you should be able to design a spell to not warp two people rather than just one. How many is too many? A whole covenant is too many. Five? Maybe not so much. That's why I suggest MT as a limit. That would make the limit in the 5-10 range for most magi, which seems to me perfectly reasonable.

Maybe it could be done by adding complexity magnitudes and/or prevent the designed-for-the-whole-covenant by using Newberg suggestion, demanding all the designated targets to be the actual targets of each casting if you want to avoid warping, which is pretty hard by itself; if the 12 grogs need to be Leaped to the Dragon's Lair and the spell was tailored for the whole covenant, all the covenant staff should be teleported with them.

Perhaps a new Spell Mastery Special Ability that allows either an accelerated re-design of the spell to allow it not Warp an additional Target or to not Warp one specific Target per level of Spell Mastery?

I think to allow this as a spell mastery where 1 extra target can be selected per level in the spell mastery is a great idea and make higher level of mastery interesting for spells that don't need to penetrate or need a high finesse.

This appears to be a good idea to me. I would rewrite it as:

Gentle Casting

You add one specific target individual per your Mastery Score to the mastered spell, which does not suffer Warping by its power (ArM5 p.168). You cannot change these individuals later, but after increasing your Mastery Score you can add further ones.

  • It is a house rule of course.
  • It is safely isolated from the ArM5 rules, and can be easily written down and communicated.
  • Players of the house ruled saga can still easily opt against it and so keep their magi compatible with other sagas.
  • The number of target individuals exempt from Warping by power of a specific spell is essentially limited by practice sessions with the spell and books on Spell Mastery for it.
  • The available numbers of exempt characters look feasible.
  • One can still integrate new characters with existing procedures of the covenant by having the main caster of an important spell take some time to increase her Mastery Score.


I really like the idea of this as a spell mastery, it sounds like an excellent candidate for a breakthrough in a saga.

I'm not so keen on the idea of never being able to change who the spell is tailored, particularly for saga's with a longer scope - as this will mean a mage would be unlikely to tailor spells to grogs or companions since they will not last through the saga. I can totally see the reasons to do it like this, but I think personally I'd say players could change it and instead make it so that it would require something like both the mage and the person they wish to re-tailor the spell for spending a full season in a lab together to do this, with only one change able to be made in that season of work.

That way the death of a grog would not make all the experience invested in that level of spell mastery 'wasted' experience, but would still mean that there is a disadvantage to changing who the spell is tailored to in both the mage and the target losing out on a season of advancement.

I've always gone with RAW - you can design it to avoid warping for one particular target, and in addition it always counts as designed for the caster (it's you casting it, it's automatically tailored for you).

Allowing more people to have spells tailored for them rapidly removes the threat of warping. Given the levels of magic theory some sagas get, suddenly all the people likely to face danger get warping-free healing, and everyone's teleporting and there is little need for Hermes portals or magical vehicles.

It'd certainly be pushing against, if not perhaps strictly breaking, the limit of Warping. Similar to Stalwart Casting skirting the limit of Energy - though Stalwart Casting has always bothered me because of just how fantastically good it is, I'm actually less concerned about OneShot's proposed Mastery ability.

I like this quite a bit. It'd still be a breakthrough, but it's a very cool first-step solution for a Magus looking to generally overcome the limit of Warping. It requires experience investment per individual and per spell it's expanded to, the 'opportunity cost' is very much there. You could already simply design additional copies of spells tailored to different targets - a time-intensive process in many cases - this allows you to focus a mastery ability which improves the spell without requiring redesign, and is especially useful for area-targetted spells. It is worth noting that at some point, redesign to a different 'tailored set of targets' will likely become more experience-efficient due to the way buying up mastery abilities works.

Vis limits will always be present for healing (unless you let them break the limit of Creation); for Teleportation I would consider imposing harsher guidelines on Burden for casting requisites than those suggested in Transforming Mythic Europe. This might keep 'big teleports' more manageable - and if it really gets out of hand, low-Warp teleporting is absolutely something house Mercere could see as a threat to their niche in the Order, which could make for a very interesting set of stories.


With a grain of salt, of course, and in very specific circumstances :smiley: : in MoH, Lambert of Merinita has invented several spells with Bloodline target, specifically so as not to warp his family. Presumably the spell keeps being cast without warping newer family members being born much later than the invention of the spell. A Merinita magus might design a MuCo spell to change other humans to become members of his Bloodline, temporarily. (there's one in Hermetic Projects to become blood relations to someone else temporarily, so just a matter of preferences and skill, and time!).

And MuVi spells to reduce magnitude or change a spell on the fly to not warp someone are another avenue that could be pursued.

It's not about Lambert, per page 93 of the core book:

Ahh, thanks!

I like the Spell Mastery.

My suss:

  • always the caster (strict core).
  • one additional person for T:Ind, one specific named group of people for T: Group. This is basically raw but clarifying that the relevant target is an important factor.
  • each level of Mastery regardless of the type of Mastery adds a person, but that person cannot change going forward.
  • I really like the Gentle Casting Mastery as written - kudos! If it requires a breakthrough to learn then it should be more flexible, perhaps each time a level of Gentle Cast Mastery is gained the Magus can change the people, keeping the same maximum numbers.

would target circle or target room allow a specific circle or room to be designated where warping would not occur...

Sally knows a spell with target group. She has three levels of spell mastery and one of her mastery abilities is One Shot's Gentle spell mastery.

Sally has made some new friends whom she wishes to be able to cast her spell on safely, so among her activities one season she reinvents her spell from her lab notes.

Because it is the "same spell" she can apply her existing spell mastery ability to it.

Because she is reinventing it she can select four different individuals to protect from warping.

If she wants to cast her target group spell on a mixed group of old friends and new friends she can choose to cast either the new spell or the old spell but either way someone is going to take warping points.

It's not crystal clear, but this seems the most reasonable way to run it to me. Does anyone see a reason to handle this differently?


, a T: Circle spell's target is not the circle drawn. Since

, a T: Room spell's target is not the room built. In both cases the target parameter rather defines the targets.

So if a person, for whom a spell is specifically invented to not warp her, is within a T: Circle or T: Room of that spell, she is not warped - quite independently of the identity or past of the circle or the room proper.

There is first the question of mastering spell versions, which appears to be a troupe decision to me. Whether a magus needs to master anew the ArM5 p.168 "special version of a formulaic spell" that he reinvented to apply to another "designated target", is a question very similar to whether he needs to remaster Wizard's Reach (Corpus), if he already has mastered Wizard's Reach (Ignem).

AFAICS Gentle Casting can work with most troupe decisions about mastering spell versions.


EDIT: Whether to reuse lab texts for different spell versions requires a troupe decision too.


Depends if you see this as the same spell. If I invent the same spell twice, they might just be very similar, and allow the same texts to be used to study mastery, yet not share the same mastery ability.

BoAF-green flames
BoAF-purple flames

Not necessarily the same.

A magus of the Drazi lineage must be prepared!