The Essential Nature of a Dead Body

One of my troupes seems to have opened a Pandora's box on the workings of the The Whole from the Part [HoH:TL:72] on a dead body. Given an arcane connection to a person, it shows a mental image of their essential nature.

Since I do not have time to read Aristotle and Augustin any time soon, I have to ask. What do you think?

It is clear that mutilations and scars are not part of the essential form, but what about decrepitude and wrinkles of aging. Would they be part of the essential nature? Would the maga see the person essentially as they were just before death or in their prime?

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If they had used that spell just before the person died, what would they have seen then?
Is there any reason to think that using the spell shortly after death would show the subject as they were at some entirely different time? Sounds very farfetched to me. Natural aging is generally very much part of someones essential nature. Hence the Limit of Aging.

BTW, mutilations and scars can be part of someones essential nature.

As an aside, I would say that the most important part of the Essential Nature of a dead body is the fact that it is dead.

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Quite the contrary. The problem that I see is that no spell can show anything at a different point in time, because of the Hermetic limit. Just prior to death breaks the limit just as much as twenty years prior.


Right you are. So neither of those cases would happen, and it would show the body as it is right then, not at any point in the past.

A situation where the spell might reveal something is if the body is under the effects of a Muto spell.

Not quite right, since it explicitly shows it without scars and mutilations according to the canon description. The only way I can read it, is that there is a certain essential nature which exist out of time.

Scars and mutilations can be part of somebodys essential nature.
Alright, so it shows the body as it looks at that point - possibly without scars and wounds and the like. Still a dead body, since being dead would very much part of the essential nature of a dead person.

Other than showing a corpse rather than a living person, being dead should not have any significant impact on what the spell shows. (Well, if they have been dead long enough it would be a skeleton rather than a whole corpse, but anyway.)

Yeah, I guess scars and mutilations can be part of an essential nature if they are character flaws rather than just battle wounds, since hermetic magic can't fix the former.

My suggestion to loke on this spell was that it would reflect the essential nature of the person to whom the arcane connection belongs at the moment it was separated from the body, hence reflecting the aging of the moment, but not the current state of the body.

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The detecting of the essential nature (or anything) about a target that you have an AC to without affecting them (and thus having to penetrate) just doesn't seem like something within the realm of Hermetic Magic/the limits of magic.

The Base 10 for this spell however is "sense all useful information about a body" and if cast on something that is an AC, and thus still is mystically a sympathetic part of something else, could be used to divine information from that component about what whole it formerly composed / was a part of. These are not the same things I think, and this is why the spell doesn't have to penetrate. Because it is gaining that information from the part and not the whole.

The description of providing a mental image of the essential nature of the subject is somewhat misleading I think. Though understandable in intent.

Personally based on this view of the spell I would have the part contain sympathetically information regarding the whole which it composed at the time it was separated. A hair that was a fixed connection to someone say would reflect them as they were when they lost the hair. Blood from a wound would be them as of when they were wounded and bled, etc.

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