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I have a wizard who rolled 22 "Sympathetic Magic" on the Mecurial Magic table for an area of affect spell. Is there any ruling documented how that works?

For those without the book:

22 Sympathetic Magic. The Spell requires that the caster have a personal belonging or a physical piece of its target in order to function normally. The spell can be cast without this sympathetic connection, but the wizard suffers a -4 penalty to his spell check.

I envision it's:

  1. You need a piece of 1 person in the area or you're at -4, rest are just affected.
  2. You need a piece of all people in the area or you're at -4.
  3. You need a piece of 1 person in the area or you're at -4 x affected targets (e.g. if 3 in the aoe it's -12).
  4. You need a piece of all people in the area or you're at -4 x affected targets (e.g. if 3 in the aoe it's -12).

1 seems too gentle to me, 4 too severe. My guess is 2 but I'd appreciate if anyone has citations, quotes or things maybe I haven't thought of (related affects, spells with better definition, etc). I can ask my judge (and will) so that as an answer isn't helpful to me :)

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I have not read all spells, but it seems that a target of an area-of-effect spell is not be the whole area of effect. Example the Fireball spell:

The caster points his finger at a target, speaks a magic word, and throws a jet of flame that explodes at the designated point. A fireball fills a sphere of 20’ radius,

So the target is what the caster is pointing at. A creature, wall, ground... The mercurial effect shall be based based on this target.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting, so then "requires that the caster have a personal belonging or a physical piece of its target in order to function normally" if I target a wall, I need a piece of wall or I get penalized? Is that what you're suggesting? Also I'll have to look but this does address "emanation" type spells but spells that are "cones" out of the caster would still be grey IMO. I can get an example if that helps. \$\endgroup\$
    – joedragons
    May 16, 2022 at 18:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Is that what you're suggesting?" yes. You're right for "emanation" spells, like Detect Evil. This mercurial effect is quite strange. Maybe, if you are the Judge, you can make the player reroll the mercurial effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – franck
    May 19, 2022 at 9:28

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