Target: Sin vs. Individual

Hello, everyone. I had a simple question here: what is the purpose of the spell target Sin from page 68 of RoP:TD? Its description reads:

You affect an individual who is spiritually impure, stained with mortal sin. This also affects demons and objects that have somehow become unholy. The spell has no effect on divine beings or targets who are in a state of grace. It is the same level as Individual.

This sounds like the exact same thing as the target Individual, except that it only affects tainted/evil targets. In other words, it's just a more limited variant of Individual. It appears to me like its only purpose would be in detecting creatures and objects who are spiritually impure — e.g. a CrIg spell that makes a target glow, but due to the Sin target, only those who are spiritually impure would glow. However, this seems exceedingly limited in scope when compared to other targets, durations, and ranges granted by similar virtues/mysteries.

Am I missing something here?

My best guess is that from a broader perspective "Target:Sin" is mostly inferior to "Target:Individual". This is not a problem however since hermetic magic is supposed to be better.

You are looking at it from the perspective of a hermetic magus wondering why someone would integrate this target into hermetic magic, and that viewpoint is flawed.

Remember that most people dont have access to both targets, they either have "Target: individual" if they are hermetic magic or "Target:Sin" if they are some form of infernal hedge magicians. Thematically it makes a lot of sense (to me) that infernal hedge magi have an easier time targeting sinners than virtuous people. Interestingly it also means that in ME being a virtuous person actually does protect against magic, just a different kind of magic than what hermetic magi have access to. It is also an explicit premise of Ars Magica that hermetic magic is the best magic around so it makes a lot of sense that hermetic magi are able to circumvent many of the limitations imposed on other (inferior) traditions.

I am aware that hermetic magi with Cthonic magic can use this target, although at the top of my head I cannot think up a good reason as to why they would want to. But I am sure someone else can do that. Cthonic magic however does much more than just give you access to a single inferior version of Target: Individual.

It could be considered as evidence that there is a limit of magic that is specific to infernal magic, I will call it The limit of Virtue which prevents infernal magic from affecting virtuous people with ease. Perhaps it is derived from the limit of true feeling, but more likely it is imposed by the divine and is thus an extension of the limit of the divine.

I think you are confusing my inquiry into Holy Magic parameters with Maleficia parameters.

According to Realms of Power: The Divine, Holy Magi do get both Individual and Sin targets. When a hermetic magus becomes a holy magus, they do not lose their original Hermetic targets / durations / ranges.

The Sin target is available for Holy Magi, not diabolists. Thematically it makes sense for the quintessential "Paladin" archetype to target smiting on evil sinners and demons. But that still does not excuse how weak the Sin target currently is.

Sorta. Becoming a Holy Magi, as per the RoP:TD book, states that your magic becomes aligned with both the magic and dominion realms. Normal hermetic magi can even still learn your holy spells using normal laboratory means, just at the hefty penalty (halving the roles).

Arguably so. Hermetic magi is the best magic when based solely on your own efforts and skill. But even the mightiest of archmagi, faerie lords, and demon princes are no match to a saint if God wills it to be so. The catch is making sure God is in your corner of the ring.

You're probably thinking about Forsaken duration or the Passion target from Realms of Power: The Infernal (page 103). Cthonic/Maleficia magic does not grant the Sin target. The Sin target is exclusive to Holy Magic from Realms of Power: The Divine (page 68).

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oh shit sorry. my bad.

I got nothing then.

Viewed from a paladin, target sin sounds nice, add one magnitude for group target and suddenly to can pilum of flame all the guilty without fear of harming the just.

It really ties in with the kill them all let god take his pick.

That just sounds like the equivalent of the Faith target (see below).

Faith (Target): This spell only affects those people who worship God, or else those who do not worship God. Most people do; only pagans, avowed nonbelievers, and diabolists are separated from the rest. The caster can choose to target only adherents of a particular faith with a Finesse roll, assuming he has some way to tell them apart. This target is equivalent to Group.

The Faith target is like the Group target, except you can single out those who worship God or those who don't worship God (pillum of flame the pagans/demons, or buff the believers). Which is pretty close to the effects of the Sin target already. At which point, one of them just sounds redundant. The only thing the Sin target could do that the Faith target couldn't is specifically targeting any believers of God who are spiritually impure after committing a mortal sin like homicide.

Why have individual when group exists? Faith is equivalent to group, sin equivalent to individual. It's a magnitude less. A devout person may want to learn sin based spells, or someone with flexible formulaic could use it well.

The same reason why you want to use faith to cherry pick targets, you can do the same with sin, but 1 magnitude less.

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Except Sin targets only one individual anyway — by definition, you're already cherry picking. When used against a singular target, I can only foresee Sin being more useful than Individual when you specifically want to test if someone is in mortal sin by checking if the spell succeeds on the target, which is exceedingly narrow in application. When used against a group with a +1 size magnitude it would be far more applicable as a means of singling out your spiritually pure allies from the impure enemies, however Faith can already do that in most cases.

In short, it seems like the Sin target is a far too niche alternative to the Individual target, nor is it any more practical than the Faith target when you apply the +1 size magnitude to be equivalent.

Agreed. I can't see any but a very devout person or a flexible formulaic caster use it.

The way we read it is that there is no base size for sin. So you can affect an arbitrarily large (individual) target "for free". Handy when dealing with really big demons.