The availability of vis

I was reading the first chapters of Hedge Magic earlier today, and came across the discussion of Elemental summoning.
That made a thought cross my mind, which sent me to my copy of RoP: Magic to look at Magic Spirits and Magic Things chapters. That sent me back to My Core book to look at the discussions of might-y creatures there.

I was left a question about the nature of vis. I will approach it by way of analogy.

Desade ex Flambeau, bored by his brethren's tendency for immolation and direction destruction, has decided he wants to find a new, different way to inflict pain and agony upon others. He decides upon trying to find a way to use his ReCo abilities. Base 10 transports a target up to 5 paces. So Desade designs:

Limb from Limb
ReCo 25
R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Part
Teleports the right arm of the target to a spot in front of the magus or 5 paces closer to the magus, whichever is shorter.
(Base 10, +2 Voice, +1 Part)

As far as I can tell, there is nothing that breaks the Limits of magic about this spell. Comparing it to Parching Wind (Core p. 123), it has similar level... one could imagine that a ReAq(Co) spell of base 10 could rip the water out of a person, rather than simply making the water disappear. In fact, with maybe a magnitude up, I don't see any reason this liquid couldn't be blood, rather than water (we already have the corpus requisite, after all). There's also The Promenade of Caesar (Ancient Magic, p. 56, and some discussion of standard Hermetic magic's abilities to target babies as Target:Part on the preceeding page), which suggests that ReCo can be used to teleport an unborn child out of its mother.

(Part of the preceeding page I refer to does note that prior to the second trimester, Hermetic magic cannot target an unborn child, even at T: Part, which is interesting, as it's rationale for why it only works after the first trimester is that it's a flaw of Hermetic Theory, but notes its the inability to distinguish child from mother which is the problem.)

So, what's all this got to do with vis, you ask?

Well, one day, Desade ex Flambeau gets bitten by a magic wolf, and, after healing up, Desade decides that magical creatures need some abuse, too. Feeling imaginative, and having had such success with using T:Part on humans, Desade decides to learn some Vim, and soon pops out another new spell.

One's Pain is Another's Gain
ReVi 25
R: Voice, D: Mom, T:Part
Teleports the vis within the target into the object held in the caster's hand.
(Base 10, +2 Voice, +1 Part)

Obviously, this spell would need to penetrate. But, given all the discussion in Ward conversations about how easy it is for ReVi specialists to generate high penetration totals at level 25, that doesn't seem like it'd be a big hurdle.

The obvious first argument against such a spell is that the RAW treats severing a limb as PeCo20, so a ReCo spell should be at least as expensive. On the other hand, it's pretty easy to make a 5-pace teleport of a whole body deadly by the integration of all sorts of physical features, from fires to steep drops to a well-braced spear. (The question of what happens when you try to teleport one thing into space taken up by other stuff is one I don't think the RAW has addressed, but you can always teleport something right above the item of interest.)

But let's assume I cave to this first argument, and say that ripping parts off people is Level 20 base, rather than Level 10. That ups the numbers, but still leaves me with my vis-analogy.

The next argument I can imagine is that one has to be able to sense the target of the spell, and that if one is targeting a part, they have to be able to sense the part. I'd say Twist of the Tongue (Core, p. 133) contradicts that: it affects the tongue, and gives no indication that the tongue must be seen to be affected. (Unless you imagine the spell is only used in very specific circumstances.) I'd also note that R: Touch works even for a blind magus, and, additionally, that I could design a R: Touch, T: Room version of the spell that makes the arms fall off of everyone in the room, even if I were blind.

But, even if we assume that's true, let's say Desade has a ring of vis-sight. That has to penetrate, too, but is there any reason such a device wouldn't see the vis inside a creature if it had enough penetration? Especially since most creatures have the vis already concentrated in a specific part of the body? The notion that I could not see the vis while the creature was it was dying, and the vis would suddenly become visible once the creature was officially dead... well, I'd need someone to give a good argument for why that makes sense. (It seems like vis-sight is one handy way to detect spirits, since vis is easy to spot, and, therefore, can have high penetration totals.)

The final argument I can imagine is that any act which causes damage is Perdo, not Rego. There's soe implication of that in the rules; there isn't a reAq version of the PeAq spell that dehydrates things/people. On the other hand, one can Muto things into damaging versions. One can create damaging versions of things. Admittedly, those are indirect damage.

So, assuming I buy that final argument... the rules normally say that DEO and its ilk destroy vim proportionally to their destruction of the target's might. Does it at least seem fair that a Re requisite on such a PeVi spell would remove the vis in a usable way, rather than destroying it? (By analogy, a Re requisite on the PeCo sever-a-limb spell seems like it ought to allow the severed limb to be teleported as part of the severing.)

So what do you the rest of y'all think? Would a ReVi effect to remove vis from a live being work? Would a PeVi(Re) effect to remove vis from a live being work? Could one ReCo a limb off rather than PeCo it? If so, what would the level be? Should ReCo a person 5 paces over an upturned spear be more deadly than a PeCo spell?

A second topic I was considering was the Summon Elemental ability. The rules note that once it uses up its Might, it leaves behind no vis. It does not note whether the elemental summonded has vis if it's killed before using its might. If I assume it does not, then my next question is: what the heck is giving it magical might? If it does, then doesn't this seem like a combination of an Elemental Theurgest and a Hermetic Vim specialist can pretty much generate elemental vis?

No, because there is no raw vis inside a living supernatural creature. There is Might, which is not the same thing. It's not just a question of visibility or concentration, but a question of quality. Might, radiant vis, raw vis, "cooked" vis are all manifestations of power, but they are of a different nature and cannot all be affected in the same way, nor arbitrarily transformed one into another.

On the other hand, I am somewhat confused as to what was meant when it was said in RoP:M that characters in the Magic Realm do not accumulate experience, but accumulate 'vis'. It doesn't say whether it is materialized raw vis, whether it is another accounting which is not quite Might (which more immediately matters for magic creatures), not quite raw vis (which more immediately matters for magi).

I don't think you can just ReVi raw vis into a being to turn it into a supernatural creature -- there wouldn't be as much interest into the various mysteries and procedures that let one achieve such a transformation. Though obviously, if you already have Might (not vis, not raw vis, not cooked vis), things are different.

Inscription Upon The Soul allows you to enchant yourself - the raw vis is still cooked like with any other enchantment.

Besides elementals which are a special case, i don't think it says anywhere that raw vis coalesces instantly in dead supernatural creatures. On the other hand, most people probably play it that way because it's a game after all.

Outside of vanilla Hermetic Magic, there are ways to exploit supernatural creatures - House Verditius has its Bind Supernatural Creature Mystery -- which extracts raw vis out of their life force (not their Might), and goetic Ablation extracts Might itself as-is. House Verditius also holds the secret that lets them "uncook" the vis of an invested device. Hermetic Empowerment lets you fuel rituals with a bound creature's Might, but you still can't directly get at raw vis.

No, that's one of the difference between elementals and other supernatural beings. Elementals are literally made up of magic.

Per the core and RoP:M rules both, yeah, there should be raw vis unless the storyguide decides to throw a curve at the players.

As I understand things, yes, it does. Which is why magi would likely be interested in integrating Theurgic Elemental Summoners. :slight_smile:


Regarding your "Limb to Limb" spell, you do need to add a Perdo requisite on top of the Rego - otherwise, the spell cannot directly damage your would-be victim; idem if you wanted to "rip water out" of somebody.

So, I'd say it's a "no can do" right now, though as there are approximations of that effect already, it likely is achievable through original research.

If you are facing an elemental, though, have at it! Plenty of raw vis to be had!

You can easily imagine the impact on hermetic society: farming magical creatures becomes significantly more interesting, more diverse and less time-consuming for magi than raw vis extraction from a magical aura.

Your Limb-to-Limb spell is sadistic enough, but dude, the teleporting baby spell... that's just messed up.

I have thought about using ReCo to teleport someone's heart out of their body and into my hand, but yeah, for some reason I guess you would need a Perdo requisite. Which brings into question, just what is the real fundamental difference between the spell that only turns a person's head and the spell that snaps their neck and thus requires a perdo requisite?

Creo - Make a giant ball of sand... inside victim's brain.
Muto - Change victim into a fish so he suffocates to death.
Rego - Teleport victim 7 leagues straight up, and hope they can't fly.

Game balance, the approval of the troupe, and (perhaps), the longevity of the game.