Spells with multiple ranges

Quick question (I hope):

Is there a writeup for designing spells or magical effects that can work at more than one range? I'm thinking right now in terms of a charm that works on a target that the caster is either touching or has an AC to. Does the AC range encompass the lesser range, is a requisite required, or is there some other rule?

I have never seen one but logically, the AC range would encompass all of the others. The same as sight is just greater than voice but the same limitations apply ( sensing target). You get no bonus for touching a target that you have an AC for when the spell is cast. Or when the range of the spell is voice or sight.

Yes, there is. There are multiple ways, but they all amount to the same thing. Look at Mutantum Magic in HoH:TL. Without the appropriate Virtue, you'll be using Spell Mastery. Either way, it involved Vis. To actually design such spells, you want the Mutantum Magic Virtue itself.

You also have the core ArM5 option of using Flexible Formulaic Magic.

There are of course Muto vim spells as well (Wizard's reach and similar).

You can kind of fake it with Rego vim tunnel spells as well

I appreciate all the answers. I was hoping there was a straightforward rule on the topic which I'd somehow missed or forgotten, but it sounds as if that isn't the case.

Both of these suggestions seem to me to amount to the same thing - a requirement that MuVi or the equivalent is required. Respectfully, I don't think I agree. The spell I have in mind would not need to be mutated as it would already have the flexibility built in by design. MuVi would let a caster do the same to a spell that is not specifically designed that way.

I've never used Mutantum Magic but from a quick look it sounds as if callen is suggesting that "Boosting" be used. However, I wasn't suggesting boosting the power of a lesser spell, rather using a spell designed around the (+4) AC range at a lesser (+1) range.

This suggestion, on the other hand, seems too lenient to me. There's no reason all spells shouldn't be flexible downwards under this interpretation and that doesn't seem to correspond to other material.

In the absence of anything more direct from the rules, I'll probably go with the option of adding +1 magnitude to the cost of the AC-only spell, similar to a requisite. That of course would make also penetration more difficult than either a touch-only or an AC-only spell, which seems reasonable.

There are InIm spells where the R:Arc also encompasses lesser ranges in the spell description. I think Seven League Stride also has an Arc or Sight effect in ReCo too. Both without additional mags in spell design.
So no spell guideline but solid examples to suggest it's fine. R:Arc or Touch sounds fine to me.

It is only downward. you would need FFM or MuVi to go upwards. It only works for Range but not for Duration or Target. If you have a spell with the range of sight you can hit anything within that range. From touch to the end of sight. Nothing prevents a magus from casting a spell with sight range on himself or on someone at touch range. Same for a spell with AC range.

Now changing the SPELL that has a range of voice to a range of touch and thus making it easier to cast needs FFM or MuVi

There can't be a general rule allowing to cast a formulaic spell with a lower level range than it was designed with. Otherwise the following would be nonsense:

There are non-standard spell ranges like Line, that allow every caster of a formulaic spell with that range to opt for another specific range at casting time, though:



This boils down to the question, whether the target is an AC to itself. And this we know by ArM5 p.84 upper box to be true.

There's certainly logic to this. The problem is that AM5 ranges don't really follow the model of distance-from-caster. See for example AM5 pg. 112 under Sight range"

A blind magus can only affect himself

He may have a powerful voice and good arms to reach out and touch with, but there's no suggestion that this would allow him to cast the spell at such distances.

At any rate, my own experience has been to treat the range descriptions as explicit and not interchangeable by default. It could be I do it "wrong".

I think the argument is not whether one can change the range downward - without MuVi at least - but whether higher ranges encompass lowers ones. After all, if you're within 10km of something you're also within 100km of the same thing. But as I wrote to jebrick, I don't think ranges are written that way in AM5.

I don't think it's straightforward. There's certainly no implication that one gets the AC bonuses to penetration from touching or holding the target.

I don't see any InIm spells in the corebook that work this way. I can't speak to what you may have seen in other published works.

Seven League Stride actually has Range: Per and moves the caster either to an Arcane Connection or to something he can see. So it's not strictly analogous, although it does suggest that spells can have variable effects at casting without requiring MuVi or something of that sort.

If in the specific case of your charm you touch the target, you also touch a specific body part of his. Hence by ArM5 p.84 upper box you hold an AC to him. Hence you can use an AC range spell on him.

I don't understand, why penetration bonuses should suddenly become an issue here. If they are, it might be better to split the charm into two smaller effects: one at R: Touch and an appropriate tunneling effect to extend it to R: AC. Yes, getting a tunnel to penetrate the MR of a paranoid elder magus - who most likely has mastered a tunnel spell for ArM5 p.87 Magic Resistance - is really tough, but instead getting a higher level R: AC spell through need not be easier.

Do you have any need for more abstract reasoning? Do you e. g. wish to affect with your charm a ghost of which no material parts are left, but it currently inhabits a location, and your SG told you that by touching this location you can cast R: Touch spells at it'?


The point being that I don't think it's straightforward that something acts as an arcane connection to itself. If you adopt this attitude, going by the "Decades ... Body Part" line on AM5 pg.84, then you should give the +3 penetration modifier on the right side of the same page to any spell cast while touching. I don't recall ever seeing a suggestion in the printed work that this is intended. Hence I'm not sure you're right about touch being in AC range.

I see. So this has little relation with your OP.

Yes, the rules differentiate, just what you need to touch of your target to get a specific ArM5 p.84 Bonus to your Penetration Multiplier. Touch/hold the tunic or glove => +1 multiplier, touch/hold the hair, sword or shield => +2 multiplier, touch hold a body part directly => +3 multiplier. But it should make no difference, whether the tunic is worn or recently found, the shield wielded or left behind an hour ago, the hand part of the body or severed. Why should it?

It is just very tricky to touch an unrestrained, resisting being while casting a spell at it - and ArM5 p.174 Magic does not make provisions for such an attempt at all. (I won't look up LoM optional rules here now.) But AFAICS you do not have to cut off the hand of a restrained target, to get a +3 ArM5 p.84 Bonus to your Penetration Multiplier for holding it.


Actually it has everything to do with the OP. If I thought that touching a target gave the caster an AC to that target, the question would never have been posed.

Have you ever seen this explained or used that way in print? If so, where? I never have, although I may of course have missed it. I don't believe ACs work this way.

On ArM5 p.84 e. g. - where no distinction is made between attached and severed body parts, worn and doffed clothing, wielded and discarded weapons, and so on.

An adventure is typically over, if you can enspell the restrained villain at leisure, and even wait for the moment his Parma goes down. Bonuses to your Penetration Multiplier do not matter much any more in such a situation. So why should an author need to tell you explicitly, that cutting off the hand of the villain for better penetration is just needless cruelty?


I don't want to go in circles here trying to deconstruct the language of a game rulebook. But I can't help pointing out that by your argument any Touch spell should get at least a +1 Penetration multiplier, for brushing the Target's clothing or the like. Don't you think it's a little odd if this was never mentioned in examples or calculations in the whole library of published material?

I certainly did not sift through "the whole library of published material", and I reckon that you did neither.

I shouldn't think, that just casually brushing the sleeve of another person in a round would be enough to cast a R: Touch spell at it in the same round, or to use that sleeve as an AC.
The magus must touch the target while he casts the R: Touch spell, and hold the AC while he casts a spell he wishes to get the Penetration Multiplier for. And, barring very specific cases (which often reduce the Casting Score), the target can withdraw. So R: Touch, and/or using the target's worn clothes or such as an AC, typically implies a consenting target. Yes, not every consenting target can lower its MR, if it got some. And then the bonus to the ArM5 p.84 Penetration Multiplier can be very useful. But this is already a very special case.

If you start sifting through the 40 or so ArM5 books, try to look for examples where beings have a MR beyond their control, and need to be enspelled by friendly magi adventurers. There the explanation of ArM5 p.84 which you are looking for might be useful.



Under normal circumstances, a spell has exactly one Range. Various virtues (such as FFM) or spells (MuVi) can change things.

The ReCo teleport spell is not an exception to this: The Range is to the target being teleported. The guideline allows flexibility regarding the distance the person is transported.




The rules are not completely clear about whether touching something counts as having an AC to it.

I would rule NO.

Touching something is not the same as having something. If the magus had successfully grappled the target, I'd see it differently, or if the magus had a good grip on the target's hat, even if the target also had a good hold.

If touching an AC counts, why not also smelling it or seeing it? (Whee! I can smell the dragon's poo, so I have an AC to the dragon.)

So no.

I think the canonical AC rules are problematic, but that's a different conversation.