I have this idea of being able to create wards, with target Circle, but instead of needing a circle, one can create the ward using standing stones, or similar markers. I am leaning towards the markers having arcane connections to each other, but I have not settled on that idea just yet.
A few questions.
Has this been implemented in the rules anywhere? I don't recall seeing it, but then again, my memory is not the best.
I was thinking that in order for this to work, I would introduce a new Hermetic virtue that enabled a magi to create wards this way. The idea is for one of the magi to find out about this and want to acquire the virtue. I found rules for acquiring supernatural abilities after gauntlet. I haven't found how to acquire a Hermetic virtue, other than a mystery cult. Is that how the magus would need to acquire it, start his own cult?
Is it possible to create an arcane connection between two things? I presume that if that was possible, it would be a Creo Vim spell. But I don't see a guideline for it.
I think what you're describing might be a new Hermetic Target: Henge. You can design spells using unusual targets according to the rules as written; they're just one magnitude higher than they would other wise be. Long-term, you could use the Original Research rules to invent the new Target, and this is only a Lesser Breakthrough.
If I'm not fooled, spells with Target:Circle mechanically are limited by the fact the caster has to draw the circle (which can only be performed on reasonnable distances).
A stone circle may have bigger limits. For instance, in my saga druids managed to cast a spell over a stone circle including half of France and Brittany kingdom. But it was ancient ritual and no hermetic Mage know how it worked. A similar secret made hermetic would be ever more powerful. If you stand connected-wards around all Europe you may be able to affect all of it with a single spell.
To me it seems it's just one of the many applications of T: Room. Remember, T: Room does not need to involve a building, just an enclosed space, with a courtyard being a canonical example. And "enclosed" does not mean "sealed shut" either, since a cathedral's nave is another canonical example. I think a circle of standing stones is sufficiently close to a cross between a courtyard and a cathedral's nave to qualify as T: Room.
I was thinking a variant of duration ring without needing to draw the ring while casting the spell might make more sense. House Diedne probably had such a duration and there are far too many neolithic stone circles around Europe for it not to have been a pre-order thing.
Interesting interpretation. I tend to view a room as having walls of some sort. A henge would have too much space between the stones to quality as a room for me. I would think of it more as a boundary.
What you're describing (using standing markers instead of a formally scribed circle) is the magic of the Columbae, a hedge tradition in Ex Miscelanea (they're in HoH:S), whose warding magic has been almost completely integrated into Hermetic magic. The exception is just what you describe: using standing markers to mark out a boundary for what would otherwise be a circle/ring (or full-on Boundary) effect.
The Coumbae's minor virtue (Hermetic Warding, I think) is arguably one of the most useful virtues a warding magi can take. It allows the magi to cast circle/ring effects on pretty much any boundary (ie, room/building/structure or a regular Boundary) by either 1) marking an entrance/exit to a building or room with a sigil (up to and including walled cities and towns), or by 2) marking the boundary with standing markers. This virtue also allows them to not have to bother with Concentration checks when doing so. So, a magi could completely ward a forest, if they took the time to walk around it and make piles of rock every couple hundred feet or so.
The issue is that such effects have a point-of-failure in the form of the sigil or standing stone: damage one, and the entire thing goes down. So it's a bit of a fragile way of casting effects, but no more so than a standard circle/ring.
The virtue also allows the magi to scribe normal Circle/Ring effects that can use Arcane Connections to increase penetration (at the expense of having the spell ONLY affect the targeted creature), or to add in exceptions to a ring (ie, CoP versus humans, 'except for me and my 3 friends')
The fact that this magic is so versatile suggests to me that's it's really supposed to be paired with the Columbae Major Hermetic Flaw ("no range" essentially), by design. Without that, it really feels more like a Major Virtue, IMO.
Could you use a set of standing stones to delineate a boundary for the purposes of boundary target?
This seems sensible to me, a ring of standing stones has the outer ring as a boundary between the henge and everything outside it.
I've also been thinking about interesting ways to use standing stones to cast magic over long distances, perhaps by linking them magically and allowing a spell to propagate through them, or linking them magically to make a boundary (maybe a MuVi effect), or even linking them magically to allow circle/ring magic to be cast through them without the downside of tracing out the line.
All kinds of thoughts. Will re-read the columbae bit when I get home.
Any other mentions in the literature of anyone using standing stones (aside from hermetic architecture which is so prohibitively expensive that its not really worth it.
My theory on 'new' target insights is that most can already be done with Hermetic Magic (as mentioned previously in the thread), using the existing "find something close, then add +1 for complexity" rules. However, Insights are still useful, as they make the resulting Target/range/duration easier than the (effectively) non-integrated hermetic version.
For example: a Hermetic can probably do a "Duration: week" effect, if they really wanted to; however, it would either be Day+1 magnitude (for a total of +3), or Month +1 Part (for a total of +4); however, if a magi got Insight to integrate it, the resulting duration would be equivalent to Day (just a +2), as described in Holy Powers section of RoP:D.
Using this idea, actual standing stones would probably 'sponted' as a structure (+3) with a +1 complexity...but when fully integrated, would just be a structure (+3). In fact, as Integrations seem to be fairly generous, it would probably just be an improvement or abstraction of the existing Structure target - making it more similar to a non-ritual boundary, as long as there were meaningful structures on a regular basis around the outside.
EDIT - or now that I think about it - if a nave counts as a room, then a standing circle would also count as one, as well - making it a bit moot, at this point.
EDIT II - actually, no - a nave is connected all the way around at the top - so unless the standing stones were also connected in the same fashion (as opposed to being separate arches or pylons or monoliths), then they wouldn't be considered a descrete room or structure - the examples seem pretty clear on them needing to be contiguous. So, yeah. At a minimum, you'll need a +1 complexity roll for that, for a non-ritual boundary effect.