Talisman effect: set of clothes?

I want to imbed an effect into a simple dress talisman that allows the wearer to turn it into any outfit she wants to, including sets with matching hat and gloves (finesse roll needed to create something pretty or similar to existing clothing) as long as she only uses Herbam material (cotton, linen, wooden buttons). I want her to be able to change her outfit at a whim, as often as she wants to.

I assume this is calculated as follows:
Base 3
+1 conc
+2 group
effect: lvl 28
+3 restricted use (caster only)
+5 item maintains conc
+10 unlimited uses

Now the tricky part:
Can she change her outfit into a multi-piece set, drop a glove and use it as an arcane connection?
Can she call back all the pieces wherever they are by changing the outfit back into a single piece dress?

The tricky thing is, that an enchanted item, and hence also a talisman, is a single Item. Taking it apart destroys it (ArM5 p.100). Reassembling it from parts then touches troupe rule territory.

What about making a single piece of clothing your talisman? Given that a talisman is considered to be part of you, as long as you are touching it, you could then enchant it to change itself and your other clothing at Range Touch.


That is not what it says there. I assume you are reffering to:

"If the enchanted device is broken, all its powers are lost". (ArM5, p. 100)

Turning a scholarly robe into a bikini and a tanga is
a) temporary (muto-magic)
b) doesn't destroy anything
c) certainly going to raise some eyebrows in Medieval Europe!

If you manage to convince your troupe, that an enchanted item taken apart (by hand, Muto, Rego or other means) is not broken and still has its powers, you have beaten them in a game of Nomic.
Next time your character can then bring her Staff of Fireballs, screw it apart into a dozen rods, distribute them to her grogs - and you ask your troupe, how many BoAFs per round this makes.

As they are, the ArM5 rules for enchanted devices make sense only, if there is no way to split a working enchanted device into several working parts.

Anyway, it is your troupe you have to convince for that Nomic win, not me or this forum.


First, I want to thank you for phrasing a problem that I was vaguely aware of, but not fully, not so clearly. Certainly, using muto to create an unlimited supply of magic items is game-breaking and therefore not possible. I had been asking not to gain an unfair advantage during a game, but to avoid doing things that break the system. Only if you know where the minefield is can you really avoid stepping on a mine. :slight_smile:
Secondly, I am rather disappointed by the inappropriately aggressive and impatient form of expression which you have chosen for your answer. Surely, they reveal more about you than about the topic discussed in this thread. :frowning:

Thirdly, is there a way to resolve the question of turning one thing into many elegantly or is the only possible answer to stay clear of it?
Here are some thoughts that are supposed to show that this issue is not as simple as it may seem at first:

  • If you turn a sword into sand, do you only get one grain of sand? Is it different or the same for a magic sword?
  • If you turn a magic bottle into a bird and the bird loses a feather, does it retain it's magical powers? What happens if you turn it into a cake and someone eats a cherry from the cake? Or five cherries?
  • What about turning magic items into water? Does it automatically destroy the magic item or only if you stir or if you drink a cup?

Don't get me wrong. I see now that I can't turn a magic dress into a set of clothes (I'll probably simply use Imaginem for that), but I'm still attempting to understand what is going on when you use muto magic on magic items. It is a pure exercise in thinking, so please refrain from commenting if you are unable to share in the joys of such a debate.

Here's my take on those examples:

  • If you turn a sword into sand, unless you are very careful not to distrub that sand so that it doesn't scatter around, you've basically destroyed the sword. If some of the sand gets split from the rest, when the effect ends the sword will be in pieces, or have flaws (depending on how much sand gets separated). It's not different if it is a magic sword, except that any flaw means it's considered "broken" for the purpose of its magic.

  • If you turn a bottle into a bird and it loses a feather, then the bottle has a very small chip when it reforms. It probably retains its magical power if it was only a single or a few feathers -- the result would basically be the bottle showing scratches and wear. But if you were to cut the bird in two, then the bottle would be broken. If you turn the bottle into a cake and someone eats part of it, you've removed a part of the bottle and it's now broken. In addition, when the effect ends that someone has a piece of glass in his/her digestive tract -- which may be bad or not, depending on the size and shape of the piece. If that someone only ate a cherry, or a few of them, I'd say the results are similar to the bird losing a few feathers.

  • Turning something into water will probably destroy it, unless the water is fully contained (for example in a bucket at the time of transformation). Basically, this is the same as sand. So long as the new medium doesn't get split into seperate parts, then I'd say the item reforms. If parts of it was split (cut away, poured, eaten, drank or whatever) then the item is destroyed.

Just my take. Others may treat the examples differently. :smiley:

Work around it - a single item could be enchanted with the power to either create the appearance of many items of clothing (MuIm, probably), or to simply create multiple items of clothing (CrAn or CrHe, typically). Please note though, that item effects tend to be fairly fixed in exactly what they do.

depends on the design of the transformation spell/effect.
Mass is not necessarily preserved.

Same, unless the sword is somehow enchanted to make it different.
Ofcourse, if it's a faerie sword, there's no guessing what'll happen.

Probably. Though likely those powers are dormant.
How's the bottle enchanted?
Eg: A MuTe effect to turn the glass tough as steel is obviously dormant, as the bird isn't Terram, and so not a valid target.

A bit is taken out of the bottle, probably destroying it.

Almost certainly destroyes it.

I'd say yes, if only to spare myself the headache. :wink:

I disagree entirely. ArM5 itself (the core book) includes two ways for living things to split into multiples, one of which is Hermetic. If living beings that have magic can split, why not items? There is no reason we can't have a device split into multiple pieces. But I would argue the magic itself is not duplicated. For example, if you have a wand that can launch 1 Ball of Abysmal Flame in a round and can also split into two wands. Then the pair can launch 1 Ball of Abysmal Flame in a round. Do you need to have both parts of the pair to do it? Does only one of the two function to make it happen, the other being more decorative? I have no idea. I'm just pointing out that ArM5 can handle such splitting.

Now, how might I rule it? Let's say you have a magic sword you want to split into ten magic swords. Let's say the enchantment on it is Hardness of Adamantine. Then you better enchant that Hardness of Adamantine at R: Personal, T: Group instead of R: Personal, T: Individual if you want it to continue working properly. Now, some might argue that that makes enchanting such an item with a permanent MuTe duplication effect much easier than enchanting ten magic swords. Sure. But magic can be suppressed. Even short suppression would stop the MuTe duplication effect. So all of a sudden nine of your grogs are unarmed. I'm OK with that risk attached to the benefit.

1 Like

Why not? I think that's perfectly fine. I think you'll have to figure out carefully how you want its powers enchanted (Group instead of Individual, for example), which will probably make it harder to enchant. I just wouldn't duplicate the effects.

We could also look at it another way. Could you enchant a suit of armor? I feel like this could fit the setting quite well. Yet suits (fully armored, not just a chain shirt or similar) of armor are all multiple pieces attached to each other. So personally I would want to allow such group enchantment somehow without the enchantment being destroyed when the suit is removed.

Personally I would rule that any enchantment is dormant while the armour is in pieces. Only when it's assembled into one suit of armour is it active. This allows for magic items that need assembly from lost components, which is cool, and also makes sense to me: A suit of armour is a single item, and separating the pieces of it isn't breaking it, as it is easily put back together.

In the same way, IMS, a talisman could be a full outfit, but if you took off your gloves and hat and left them elsewhere, your talisman would be non-functional until you put them back into place.