Time difference and duration

It was almost getting dark when my magus had finally obtained the treasure of his journey. Fearing for retribution he took the items and leaped home (ReCO), promising his comrades to return to then when the items were secured in his sanctuary. Being the curious Bonisagus Paris is, he figured that back in our covenant it was past sunset, while he just leaped from Ireland, where is the sun would set in half an hour. So he immediately drank some water and tried to get some of it in his lungs (lungs of the fish with sun duration :wink: ) to test if the spell would adhere to the Irish (where it was cast) or local time.

Our troupe decided that the spell winkes out because sunset has occured in the place he leaped to. When he leaped back to Ireland the spell was not active anymore.
Unknowingly we used this principle before in a regio the lets time pass more slowly than in the mundane world.

Our troupe will continue to use this 'house rule,' but I thought this is just the sort of discussion topic most of you on this forum enjoy. So go ahead and give your opinion.

It's a very sensible conclusion. Magic with a continuing effect lasts untill the magic ends, at which point it ends and doesn't come back. Luckily the standard durations of Hermetic magic are linked to the movement of celestial bodies and their have an uneven duration (rather than a fixed amount of time/hours or minutes etc.). Any magus knows that his magic will last longer if connecting his magic to the sun and casting it in the morning rather than in the evening - and if traveling fast he should take care not to be caught of guard by effects fizzling out as the sun sets...

A bit tired at the moment, having been up all night playing with my ars troupe (though a board game this time), but I'm sure it might be possible to find more grey-area problems with some of the non-standard (non-celestial-alligned) durations, wouldn't it?

The ArM durations are linked to celestial bodies, even more so for those with the Celestial mystery virtues. As such, the magic should end when the celestial event cccurs. If arrive somewhere where it's night, your spell ends. A Faerie Regio where the sun never sets could be a nice storyhook for any number of reasons.

That said, how do Magi know teleportation is instantaneous rather than just very, very fast? After all, if you step into a Hermes Portal in the Levant at noon, there's nothing to say you don't step out at Noon the same day in Paris. This could be because the celestial link to magic means that that's the time conserved, or because the world is flat.

(Hermes Portals generously provided by the Mercere Association for the Pursuance of Magical Investigation and Unfair Trading Schemes)

A true Bonisagus has already tried that time thingy out:
I was away for 15 minutes (ask the people you left behind), I spend 15 minutes in my home covenant. Either I travel through time on the way back or the sun sets later in the west.
Logic would go for the latter option, this is observed by travelers aswell. (though less dramatic)

Well, living on the north pole results in having a single day (6months) and a single night (6months). Thus, you need only two spells of sun duration troughout the entire year to cover tghe whole time...
Lucks Santa Claus! :laughing:

Another interesting question is if the sun at all sets sooner in Ireland than in Constantinople....?

Why shouldn't it set at the same time?

To be honest I don't know what would be most artificial given the setting.

Does the sun really sets later in ireland? 6 is 6 is 6 PM after all :wink:

Interesting topic indeed. I would say that the HP link with celestial phenomena is better: you step into an HP at noon in Jerusalem and you arrive at noon in Paris, not at 10:30 AM. And viceversa. I like the celestial link :slight_smile:

So the sun is setting in your covenant when you leapfrog there as well. I would do that IMS, at least. The other time variance approach sounds too modern to my ears



I quite like celestial time, too. It feels suitably magical. Has canon ever addressed whether the earth of Mythic Europe is flat or not? Flatness isnt necessary for celestial time to be absolute across the world, but it is the easiest explanation.

That said, the northern winter effects should certainly be good fun. A mage with deficient Perdo stuck in Norway should be pleasantly inconvenienced by his normally useful, temporary Sun duration spells.

Given that classical greek scholars had accuratly determined the diamater of the Earth and that basic astronomy and astrology was available (although I think they all used an Earth centric rather than Heliocentric model) scholars would be aware of the different times of Sunset and Sunrise as well as some prediction of Eclipses , planatery transits etc .
Although the motion of Mercury and Venus is seriously weird for an earth centric model

Darn - just got the most interesting idea from your thoughts! I can't help waiting for one of my players botching a teleport spell and have him arrive with out any trouble or mishap... but one, that being that he arrives at the exactly opposite constalation of the major stellar body, the sun, so that if using ReCo at noon he arrives at midnight.

I reason that if this is forward in time it really isnt breaking the limit of time. Or maybe if it actually does, it might be an experience attracting investigation as the botch then apparently made the magus break a limit!

As Andrew said above, the Greeks had established that the sun orbited a round Earth. Even if not every magus was aware of the proof, as a whole the Order of Hermes would no doubt be aware of the theory. Especially since Hermetic magic is limited by the Lunar Sphere, they would be familiar with the Aristotelian/Euclidian concept of celestial spheres.

So they would understand that the sun sets later in time in western lands than in eastern ones.

The concept of magic-working across time zones becomes more of an esoteric exercise for us.

  1. If the magical travel requires some sort of continuous operation (wings, wind, animal-form), the answer is easy: magic ends at local sundown. (if this is a frequent problem, design a spell that is lunar in duration)

  2. If the travel magic is momentary or instantaneous, it could go either way.
    -- If the spell is designed/interpreted to "launch" the target across a sunrise/sunset horizon, then the target could easily arrive at the destination safely.

-- If the spell is designed/interpreted to require an arcane connection to the destination, and therefore requires an Hermetic connection across a sunrise/sunset horizon, it could be said that the spell would fail, because the arcane connection between caster and destination is temporarily disrupted by the sun being "out of alignment".

-- And with a swing of a pendulum, one could offer the rebuttal that a spell of momentary duration has nothing to do with Sun duration.
If a spell is cast on a target, and that target is instantly transported across a sunrise/sunset horizon, I would say the magic has ended, even if the target is transported back again immediately. If a spell is cast on a target, and the caster is transported across the sun horizon and back again, I would say that the spell was still in effect, because the magic hasn't experienced a sunrise/sunset.

Just because the Hermetic theory of Bonisagus aligns durations to the celestial bodies doesn't mean other magical systems are required to. A land where the sky is always cloudy or obscured, or the poles where days and nights can last entire seasons, might easily give rise to different implementations of magic.

Would they?

For one, the concept of "time" as we know it didn't exist. 6 AM was not a concept, much less 6:12. The hours were first used to help prayers, and those revolved around sunrise and sunset, not the latter varying around a "standard and reliable" frame of temporal reference.

But the one does not lead immediately and obviously to the intuitive leap to the other.

This is another of those questions - "Well, it's obvious to us, so they ~must~ have realized it..." Perhaps, but not necessarily, and certainly notl guaranteed.

It would be interesting to get a definitive, documented answer to the question, but until then I'd say that the sun sets at the same moment across all of Mythic Europe. Any other interpretation gains little, and creates a lot of headaches.

Very true. The religious orders (although I'm not sure this was universal across Europe) divided the time between dawn and dusk into twelve equal sections, which were called hours. The night was similarly divided. Thus the length of an hour varied according to the time of the year and the latitude. Time was carefully measured with candles so that the prayers could be said at the right time; the marks on the candles were calculated so that they were the right distance apart for that month.

Thus here in Northumberland, where there is 17 (modern) hours of daylight at midsummer, the (medieval) hour would be 85 (modern) minutes long during the day, and 35 minutes long at night.

To take up the other point, it is a fallacy that the world was believed to be flat in the Middle Ages, at least to the educated levels of society.

The proof that the world is a sphere was well understood. If it was not, then something could be beneath it; and it was plainly obvious to all that the world is in the centre of the universe - and therefore must be a ball!

Further, so it was reasoned, if the world was flat then people in the extreme east would have dawn and noon at the same time, then a long afternoon. The opposite would happen in the extreme west. The fact that wherever you are, the time between dawn and midday is the same as the time between midday and dusk, is proof that the world is a ball (note: not my explanation, but that of a C13 scholar).

It was well understood that different latitudes had different day lengths. Water clocks and candles manufactured in Greece were inaccurate in Scotland. These differences could only be explained if we were living on a ball.


Very enlightening, thanks Mark! Didn't know they were that sophisticated that early, but easy to believe.

But how would you deal with the original question, the in-game problem of long-range teleportation in a system that is "sunset/sunrise" dependent?

If a mage could fly fast enough and far enough, could they have a "Sun" duration spell last the full day while they circumnavigated that ball?

Would seem so.

And then, suddenly we find that there is a basic missunderstanding on how the physics of the world work (ala Monthy Python) and the character might fall from ther border of the Earth :stuck_out_tongue:



Interesting stuff on the state of knowledge of the world being round there. It's rather depressing that with that many hundred years of knowledge and thought, there are still Flat-Earthers.

I quite like the thought that absolute Celestial time governs spells. It allows for time travel, it's true, but not in a really useful sense. Going from noon to noon and vice versa can't really be exploited (unless you travel North-South a very long way, when it could, i suppose, take you about 6 months either way, which does muck matters about somewhat). Given other forms of divination do work, it gives a nice situation where the Limit of Time is revealed to be a Limit of Bonisagus, not of magic itself, and provides a nice source for investigation for developing hermetic divination.

I suspect that it'd change a saga a lot in the long term though, so perhaps it'd be better for a specific game rather than the game as a whole.

Flat earthers... bah so outdated. Surely every right thinking man is accutely aware that we are on the inside of a hollow earth.

Sadly this is altogether too modern an idea to circulate in my Ars stories.

On a more serious note though. I had always presumed the fact that the earth is flat is a certainty in the minds of the order. Anyone who believes otherwise is clearly mad, although there may be a historical preceident for eblieving it thus. As for differences in 'local time' as we travel from place to place. Well you need to be measuring time pretty accurately to notice that and travelling great distances at speed. Of course, magi can and often do accomplish the latter, but the former, unlikely.

there may be some scholars who notice strange factors like an apparent change in daylight when travelling by portal etc - but thats mroe likely to be atributed to weather, quirks of magic, or even just mad travellers with crazy ideas.

Whereas in a historically-realistic saga, magi who believe in a flat earth are superstitious primitives with no appreciation for the truth, as deduced by philosophy. :slight_smile:


Realise, that "flat earth myth" IS a MYTH, and its not a medieval one, its a MODERN myth, created as a "story-enhancer" in a book about Columbus, by Washington Irving in the 19th century.
Later on this myth somehow got stuck together with the geo vs heliocentrical universe debate, and after that there´s no end to the amount of silly mythspreading.

This also should give you a hint on the problems of knowledge and communication, despite the fact that its been KNOWN for at least 2 thousand years that the earth is spherical, so many in this thread still thinks the opposite was the norm less than half that time back. And the knowledge that the norm of belief in medieval times was indeed (with a handful of loudmouthed exceptions) a spherical earth is widespread and completely uncontroversial today. And despite that, many here still believes more in something that was spread unintentionally by an author spicying up his totally non-documentary book.

If you consider spherical earth to be to modern, you will be forced to place your saga BC, at the very least, probably several hundred years BC. Or in China, as it was a common philosophical standpoint that earth should be flat(despite non-philosophical sources clearly pointing towards spherical earth being known there as well).

However, there is mention from hundreds of years BC as well that sailors already then was quite aware that the earth was spherical.

I have to agree. No one living in a coastal city, no matter how ignorant and uneducated, would believe for a second that the earth was flat. You can physically oserve the mast of a ship coming over the horizon, followed by the rest of the vessel.
And I forget the name of the monk who did this (some one refresh my memory please :slight_smile:), Augustine I think but maybe not, he corresponded with another monk and made measurements of shadows at specific portions of the day, and mathematically demonstrated the earth was round. This was like 300/400 ad or so.