Warping and invalid magic

Hi all, what happens if you cast a high-level spell on someone, which does not apply?

For instance, a high level DEO on a normal person?
A high level CrHe on a person?
A high level CrCo on a tree?

If these spells were hitting their intended targets there would be warping, but as the spell would not do anything, does it still warp?


According to the RAW (AM5, pg. 167), you can gain warp from:

"2. Being affected by a powerful mystical effect, unless you created the effect, or it was designed especially for you."

So, no - in this particular case, the rules seem clear: if you are not affected by the powerful effect, then you do not gain warp from it. That's my read of it, anyway.

EDIT - OK, in reading through the actual section on this kind of warp (as opposed to just the list) on page 168, it becomes a bit more unclear. "Anyone subjected to a powerful mystical effect gains a Warping Point, unless they themselves were responsible for the effect or it was specifically and carefully designed to work on them."

So it seems to hinge on the definition of "affected by" and "subjected to". I would still argue that it doesn't grant Warping, as I cannot not placed under the authority (ie, am the subject of, in a legal sense) something that cannot affect me. But that's splitting definitions a bit.

Is there precedent/clarification for this somewhere?

I am not sure at all about this interpretaion, but...

  • If you cast a spell on Target:Room, the room will get warped.
  • The affected entities inside that room get warped.
  • The unaffected entities inside that room do not get warped.

This would mean that the Target always gets warped.

Hmm, so that means I could have a target structure DEO that I set off in every building I enter? Maybe enchanted into my boots or a staff...

As it would only harm demons it won't warp anyone else. Any magi may notice it bouncing off their parma (but with high penetration it will go straight through most) but there are no real downsides to it?

This depends on the state of your campaign. You might reread HoH:TL p.51 Deals with Devils, and then discuss with your troupe what might happen - wrt warping, social consequences etc. - if a DEO effect 'accidentally' exorcises a demon possessing somebody. E. g. would the overall behaviour of your magus conform to that expected of a holy man exorcising demons by his sheer presence? Would his sodales get nervous, or even feel compelled to act?
Also, Hell likes the paranoid. Well over a decade ago, a magus character in my campaign had combined an area spell attacking demons with a fire effect for every hit, and was then gratified by lots of fireworks whenever he cast his spell, as a few demons sent their hordes of disposable minions at him whenever possible, just to increase his paranoia, and that of his sodales.


Going by strict RAW:

  1. Being affected by a powerful mystical effect causes warping. (page 167 of the core book)
  2. Target structure "affects everything within a structure". (page 113 of the core book)

Therefore, your DEO spells would warp anyone who didn't successfully resist it; it would warp all the furniture, all the cutlery, everything.

And, to be honest, if you tried that trick in a campaign I was running that's exactly what would happen. You don't know what form the demon might be in, so you actively intend to hit everything (up to and including the air); which means you'll be warping everything.

Do this in other people's covenants and once they realise you'll be facing dire consequences. Because you'll have broken the oath of hermes by using your magic against your sodales.

I realize the RAW, as it relates to T:Structure, says spells affect everything within, and including the structure, but that is a very narrow reading of RAW, IMO. Technically, what is being targeted is anything with Infernal might of the Form of Vim within and including the structure of the specified realm. It isn't affecting any other Form, IMO. Other spells may be effective against a demon in the shape of a man or an animal, but that just destroys the form of the demon, which can be reconstituted with relative ease.

It's a significant reading because of the fact it's the literal meaning. It means that any other reading must be justified based on its merits; that it must produce better gameplay than the actual rules.

Nope, technically what is being targeted is the structure and everything within it.

What the person wants to hit and what they're targeting aren't the same thing.

The reason they're using the "structure" target is, most likely, because they don't know what things within the structure have infernal might. So how can they be targeting them, if they don't know where they are?

Certainly their magic can't be deliberately targeting itself against demons, because hermetic magic is incapable of detecting demons. So, if it's hitting demons, it must be hitting everything else too.

Better gameplay is a matter of opinion. Especially where warping is concerned.

Very well, I will stipulate that the structure and everything within it is being targeted, but nothing but the demons within it are being affected.
You cannot affect a normal human with DEO, you can only affect the demon possessing him.

One other thing worth remembering is the Sigil - if you automatically cast a T: Structure effect every time you enter a structure, odds are everyone in the building will notice your sigil, every time, especially if you have a particularly obvious/obnoxious sigil.

And who will believe you when you insist that it was "merely" a spell to kll demons?
Not the mundane who can feel your Gift, and not likely your fellow magi, who are apparently prone to paranoia.

And if the effect is strong enough to Warp, the sigil is likely to be horribly obvious!

The primary issue I have with warping everything in the building is tracking the warping points for everything in the building. This is a gameplay issue, if it's important enough to say that everything (including people within) receives a warping point, then it is important enough to track. If it's important enough to track, it's an unholy headache.

I don't see how it would be that much of a headache.

You just keep track of a single warping score for "everything in the building"; and increment the warping scores of any major characters that are around (as you would any time they got warped).

Honestly, the threat of the effect is going to be enough to keep people from doing it willy-nilly, and will mean that it's no longer reasonable to have an item cast DEO 5 times on everyone you interact with, just in case.

It's actually only spells that target demons I feel strongly about. Spells that target other things can conceivably be aimed by the magic: hermetic magic can detect anything other than demons, so specific targeting is perfectly plausible.

Well, if you're going to use "it causes warp" as a balancing agent, it's a non-issue: most DEO's will be lvl 5 or 10, anyway, simply for the penetration. Structure adds 15 to that, so the total (assuming a R:Touch) will only be 20 or 25. Warp doesn't start until 30, so the point is somewhat moot unless the magi wants to be really impressive and/or wants to one-shot all demons in range.

Re: Structure spells that affect everything - it certianly does seem to say that. If that's the case, then the ruling is contradictory: everything is affected, but some targets cannot be affected. If you say that an (unpossessed) human is affected by a DEO, then you must take that human's Magic Might down. But human beings don't have magic might - therefore the spell doesn't affect the target. Which is a contradiction somewhere.

As such, we're going to have to ignore one rule or the other. Personally, I go with "the spell TRIES to affect everything in the room, but is only capable of affecting those who are affected by its Form"

My interpretation is that a spell affects and warps every applicable target in the Target.
An applicable target is determined by the Form of the spell: A Corpus spell will affect and warp everything that can be targeted by corpus, period.

Can a target be further specified, such as "wolves" or "men"? IMO, that's campain specific, but I can't see why not. Costs and benefits even out.

Note that, if you're of the mind that a spell warps everything within its Target, regardless of the form, then an Aegis gives everything inside the boundary at least 1 warping point per year, 2 if your Aegis is lvl 30 or higher.
This means Warping 00 to 05 in 75 to 33 years.
As I see it, the Aegis "warps" Vim inside the boundary, which is reflected in the Aura variation rules.

Nope. Aegis and Parma both do not warp. Page 168 AM5 core rulebook middle column half way down the page.

"Wards are active mystical effects as long as they are protecting someone. Two notable exceptions are Parma Magica and the Aegis of the Hearth, which are based on the same breakthrough by Bonisagus."

Just to be clear, The Fixer isn't saying that the Aegis warps, he is demonstrating that if a DEO on T:Structure were to inflict warping on the structure and everything within, that approach stands at odds with something like the Aegis. Further, it stands at odds with other things mentioned earlier in the page you reference. kingreaper's approach is that it (DEO: T: Structure) of sufficient magnitude always warps anything and everything it is "targeted" at, but I couldn't find the RAW that said it was wrong, but you did...

Maybe, but it's an interesting project for a vim specialist, that. WHY does the Aegis not warp? Why does parma not warp? For that matter, why does being the target of other magic aligned supernatural powers (second sight etc) not warp?