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I have a Magus who specialises in Mentem magics, as such most of his spells are Eye range. Sadly the campaign has ended up being more about stealth and physical subtlety rather than politics and mental subtlety, so he often find himself hanging around invisibly, waiting for his target to wake/look up and allow him to unleash his spell.

Most of these spells could be vis boosted to Sight, but I haven't seen a single pawn of Mentem Vis in 100 sessions and our Technique vis is far too valuable to waste on spell boosting.

As such, I have been toying with a number of options, but they all have their problems:

  • Use a meta-magical effect to turn any Eye range spell into a Touch range spell.

    • MuVi (General*2, General, or General/2) R:Touch, D:Spec, T:Ind
    • I'm not sure what sort of meta-magical effect turning Eye into Touch would be, Eye and Touch are the same range, so I would expect this to be a superficial change. I.e. a Level 10 MuVi would allow me to convert my Level 30 Eye spell into a Touch spell ((10+5)*2).
    • Sadly meta-magical effects also have double the number of botch dice and effectively cause you to cast the other spell un-mastered too, not to mention the concentration rolls required to cast both spells simultaneously.
  • Use ReVi to make the magic come from just in front of the targets eyes.

    • Opening the Intangible Tunnel (ReVi General+5) R:Touch, D:Conc, T:Ind
    • This would work well when the target is awake, but would need to be Level 25 to work with my Level 30 Eye spell.
    • There is the chance that a magically aware being might notice the tunnel and use it against the caster.
  • Use ReCo to make the target glance in your direction at just the right moment.

    • Lifting the dangling puppet ReCo 5, R:Touch, D:Conc, T:Ind.
    • It is going to be fairly obvious their head/eyes were yanked around.
    • Could be used to open the eyes of a sleeping target, but risks waking them.
  • Use ReMe to make the target look in the right direction at just the right time.

    • ReMe 20, R:Touch, D:Conc, T:Ind.
    • As it is a Re effect it could ensure that the target stays asleep when they open their eyes.
    • I would have to invest multiple seasons of lab time to create this spell.

This last option looks the best, and fits in well with my Magus' specialities, but I wonder if my reasoning is correct and whether there are any options I have missed.

Note my Magus already has a mastered formulaic CrMe10 spell called Essence of Diplomacy which can be used to plant a thought into someone's mind (as if they had had it themselves), such as "Glance over at the doorway", but it is still Eye range and isn't very useful if they are asleep. I could just research a touch version of that spell, but I was hoping for other options I might have missed.

So,

  • Would a metamagical spell to switch Eye for Touch be a superficial change to a spell?
  • Are there any other options for my desired effect that I have missed?

Note, we are playing Ars Magica 4th edition with some elements from 5th edition and house rules on penetration which I won't go into here (I can adjust for these myself and discussion of them wouldn't help future visitors to this question).

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There is a spell in Art & Academe (page 32) that seems perfect for your needs, and a better version of your fourth option:

Look at Me

CrMe 15

R: Sight, D: Mom, T: Ind

This spell creates a thought in the imagination of the target, causing him to look directly at the caster even if the caster has not been previously noticed by the target. This glance is sufficient to make eye contact. If concentrating on another task, the target may make a Stamina + Concentration roll against an Ease Factor of 6 to resist. This spell is most often cast with no voice or gestures as a subtle way of attracting someone’s attention.

(Base 4, +3 Sight)

It probably wouldn't work on a sleeping target, but it doesn't require you getting close to it either.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry @Magician, I should have been explicit about edition. I specifically didn't select the ars-magica-5 tag as we are playing ArsM4, for which there isn't a tag. Note that in 4th ed, this would be a Level 20 spell. (CrMe10:Eye/Sun/Ind > CrMe20:Sight/Mom>Ind) \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth Nov 2 '13 at 14:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah. Sorry, I'm only familiar with 5th edition, so I won't be able to help then. \$\endgroup\$ – Magician Nov 3 '13 at 0:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's Ok, your answer prompted me to add a little more detail to my question. Thanks for your time and sorry for wasting it. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth Nov 3 '13 at 2:17
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Would a metamagical spell to switch Eye for Touch be a superficial change to a spell?

Perhaps. It can't be harder than switching to an increased range. If you're using Fourth Edition, range "near" would be almost as good as sight and be a smaller boost. If you're using Fourth, have you house ruled PeIm spells, or is invisibility still exceptionally easy?

Are there any other options for my desired effect that I have missed?

There is one along the lines of what Magician has suggested, and it may be the spell he is referring to, but I thought the idea was from HoH: Societas, not Art and Academe. You develop a spell or enchanted device that makes a small flash of light with brightly colored moment, like a tiny bit of mirror moving in the air for an instant. You cast this effect directly between your own eyes and the target's eyes. For most, it would be an involuntary reaction to glance at the object. When they do so you, get eye contact and can cast your range "eye" spell. (Once again, it doesn't work with sleepers)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ We haven't house ruled PeIm spells, but we do rigorously enforce the 'number of senses' affected. Just perdoing sight is dangerous when people and critters have other senses they can target with. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth Mar 31 '14 at 23:36
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If its a sneaky game and your storyguide isn't allowing you to tap on a guy's shoulder as you cast an eye range spell at him (knowing he is going to turn to look at you) then he's probably doing it wrong. Same with waking them up...they will look into your eyes as you're casting.

Eye is 10 times easier to pull off than touch...if you can consistently get into touch range on enemies, this problem you're having shouldn't be a problem. As it says in the book, "a human who knows no reason to avoid making eye contact, makes it automatically"...it talks about eye contact being difficult in combat, but if you're sneaking around, combat hasn't begun. A person's natural reaction to being tapped on the shoulder is to spin and see whats going on...a human's gaze is naturally drawn to another person's face...that should give you your opening most of the time.

Will there be times when it doesn't work? Sure...blind folks, that weird guard with Lightning Reflexes designed to cleave anything that surprises him, a medusa you don't want to make eye contact with...but most of the time you should be able to pull it off. If the storyguide insists it takes a turn to establish eye contact...fine...do that in the surprise round you earned for sneaking up on the guy. Then let initiative decide...hope you worked on your Finesse.

Of course, if the reason you're so good at sneaking is that you're invisible (which is the only time I've ever seen a sneaky Ars Mage), then you are in a bind...they need to see your eyes for the spell to work.

Rather than dealing with metamagic (unless you're already planning on going for Vim specialty) it might just be a matter of reinventing a few of your problem spells at a new range...or Sponting them if they're easy enough.

If your storyguide isn't giving you downtime...or the right vis (another thing hes doing wrong)...ask if you can retcon a few of your spells...you probably took them straight from the book, having little to no idea what you were doing...many Ars core spells are nigh-useless as written (looking at almost anything with Concentration Duration)...so an experienced player would create new versions of these to begin the game. If you didn't have that experience, a minor retcon once you do have a better understanding of the system is fair and warranted.

Seriously though...100 games with no Me vis? You should have ample opportunity to trade Vis with NPCs...reach out in downtime (which you should demand if you aren't getting it) to the Redcaps...they'll work a trade with you for certain.

This isn't D&D and shouldn't be run as if it was...downtime is at least as important as adventure time in an Ars Campaign.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ A critique of the campaign/GM is not as useful as an answer to the question I asked. This campaign is being run by one of the most experienced & creative GMs I know, and has now been running for more than a decade, with two decades of downtime - our DT/UT ratio shouldn't be relevant. Nor should the fact that our covenant is the last in the Order of Hermes and we are struggling to survive on a world where a third of it is dominated by a demonic Empire. I was looking for a solution which would allow me to effectively use my starting spells without re-researching them all, one season per spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth May 30 at 10:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, and I've been playing Ars since '89 and pretty much all of this characters starting spells were custom. Sometimes, however, your characters get thrown into situations they don't expect and have to adapt to survive, that's all part of the fun. \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth May 30 at 10:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry for my assumptions about experience...drafted alot of new players over the years and that initial learning curve leads to alot of confusion/poor initial choices...maybe I shouldn't have assumed that was the case here. I still think my points on ease of eye spells at touch range were valid and worth bringing up to your troupe. As for your issue, I think all of your plans have merit, so that would depend on your flavor/specialties. The only alternative I can think of that saves you action economy would be initiating the Consummate Talisman, with all the challenge that brings. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Parker May 31 at 4:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Consummate Talisman? Is that something from 5th ed.? \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Booth May 31 at 13:48

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