The discussion of InCo guidelines has raised more general issues about targeting. I am wondering whether they need attention, or whether it takes us into "too much detail, even for Ars Magica" territory.

There is an implicit idea that, in order to target something, you have to be able to pick it out. This is why you have to be aware of it, or have an AC.

However, there are cases in which you are aware of something, but cannot pick it out. For example, there is a crowd of 15-year-olds in identical school uniforms, all wearing surgical masks, at the other end of the hall. You know your daughter is in that group, but cannot tell which one is her. (Totally random example…)

Now, could I cast a T:Ind spell on my daughter in that situation? I am aware of her, and I know I am aware of her, but I do not know which of the things I am aware of is her.

This came up because of the InCo suggestion that having an AC to her should be necessary to target her in that situation. I can see good reasons for that.

(It was also suggested that you might be able to exclude targets you have an AC to, but that seems less plausible — Hermetic magic is not set up to exclude potential targets.)

This is something that could be put in errata, I guess. It would be simpler to just delete the references to ACs from the InCo and InIg guidelines. I am definitely inclining towards the opinion that this is too complex, but I am not absolutely sure, and could be persuaded otherwise by good arguments.

("Now, could I cast a T:Ind spell on my daughter in that situation?" "No, David, you are not actually a Hermetic magus." There, saved you the trouble.)

In context of the InCo, discussion. Intelligo is all about getting info. While some people have mentioned if the range is vision any spell is pointless as if you can target them you know where they are, your example shows this is not always the case. A group target to find the daughter would work for me, but not individual.

Targeting a "I know they are there" with individual opens up too many potential abuses.

I know amongst the group of bandits there is a leader. I pilum of fire the leader. Seems a bit rule abusive.
Add an intelligo requisite, maybe, and even that is a stretch, but to me individual, you need to know exactly the target, not a vague idea of a target.


Seconded Lee's opinion!

Perhaps my reply here is relevant for this thread, too?

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I would not change the rules for the potential abuse. Being aware is too loose of a definition not to be abused. It is good if hermetic magic cannot do everything: more spotlight for grogs and companions, more potential for stories.
I like a "flawed" magical theory as it gives opportunity for PC to improve.

If you want to follow this path, I could consider, in the AC or Penetration section (p84): "If the mage is able to accumulate sympathetic connections worth +5 bonus to a target, he can also use that as Arcane Connection for spell requiring it."
The +5 value is just a suggestion.

In the case of "Find my Daughter in a Haystack of Teenagers", Blood relative +1, Target birth's name +1, Target's nativity horoscope +2, Symbolic representation of the target (the picture in your wallet) +2, for a total of +6: you should be fine (please send me the labtext, I will need it soon, payment to be discussed).

The issue with this approach is that it is adding a new rule, expanding (slightly) magic potential, without being an Erratum of an existing problem.

R: Touch, T: Bloodline.


But to be honest, I just wanted to compliment @David_Chart's example.

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A huge number of Intellego spells that use sense Targets seem to work differently, though they do not actually. You have to be able to pick them out with the enhanced sense rather than prior to casting. But that's not an issue because the Target is actually the person gaining the sense. So there is no violation of the Limit of AC's. The problem just starts showing up when AC's are included in the guidelines, which sort of assumes sense Targets just don't exist.

Be careful of any general comment allowing this one. As you say, Hermetic magic is not generally set up for such exclusion. We see this very clearly with the Columbae and their wards in HoH:S.

Especially for newbies, it is helpful knowing where the boundaries of scope are. Being given an optional resolution instead of a hard rule to corner cases is very helpful, as long as they are tucked away so as not to obscure the main course.

Generally speaking, if magic can determine which specific person within range I mean by one set of underdeterminate properties and without a sensor (intellego), then I don't see why it shouldn't be able to with a different set except for meta magical reasons such as game balance or fun.

Lets consider the example. You in fact do sense the target (you can see your daughter in her uniform) you simply can't identify the target. since you can sense the target the limitation of arcane connections does not apply, and InCo should be able to be used with target:group to identify your daughter from amongst the crowd. at most it might add a new guideline under InCo (or potentially one for each In Fo where it might apply.

Isn't this just "sense a specific piece of information about a body"? Where the information is who the targets parents(or just father) are, with a group target? No new guideline necessary.

If you are looking for a spell to find your daughter, I think that's easy enough - Base 3 if you allow it from the other conversation, Base 5 for specific information otherwise?

If you are looking to cast a targeted spell - CrCo Voice range to increase their resistance against plagues, obviously - then you need to identify them first IMO. Even with ACs - I like the AC as an identifier/clarifier on Intellego, but doesn't make sense to me for a PeCo Voice Itching Rash spell.

I mean... you could be wrong, right? Maybe your daughter is not actually in the group. So you are not actually aware of your daughter. You are aware of a group of teenagers, one of which you suspect is your daughter.

Even if one of them removes the mask and approaches you smilling, looking like your daughter, it could be a faerie in disguise. So you are actually aware of an individual who seems like your daughter. You can target it as an individual, not as your daughter.

Oh, that's a dead giveaway…

Yes, no question.

Anyway, on the main issue, I think I will leave it to troupe judgement. There are too many opinions, and no clear mistake, so I don't think this is something for errata.

There used to be such an idea. However, it implies that something can be an Arcane Connection to a single target: otherwise, how can you "pick out" the right target?

Covenants, and in particular the Library chapter, was the first 5th edition book to violate this implicit idea explicitly allowing something to be an AC to multiple targets (that had, as far as I know, been implicit since 1st edition, and is still a house rule at my gaming table).

Doesn't matter.
Once you start fake-casting spell using firm voice and bold gestures, the teenager cringing the most or actually running away will be your blood relative.